Monday, April 27, 2009

Telecommuting and Pandemic Flu

Here's something Stella really hates: getting off an airplane on a layover and seeing Janet Napolitano's face on CNN over a "Breaking News" graphic. It's probably partially a function of it being a slow news day, but people getting this wound up about swine flu is troubling.

The good news is that a robust telecommuting program can help save your business in the event of a widespread health scare. In Mexico City, the streets are deserted, and tomorrow should be interesting too. Companies who enable their workers to work from wherever they are (including making the phones ring where people are, VPN and other secure access, and so on and so on) will be in much better shape than those businesses where people have to show up to log in.

The same is true here in the US. So dust off those disaster preparedness plans, friends, and make sure that people know what they should do to connect in case there are restrictions on travel, going to offices, and the like.


Remote Revolution said...

You know, this topic always gets me going...I think the only way many companies are going to make the shift to allowing flexible work or (gasp!) telecommuting whenever it's possible is in the wake of a crisis. While I agree that this might be a "slow news week" sort of blowing-out-of-proportion, it's a nice exercise in thinking about the future.

Here's something interesting for you: Consider this 2006 article about what *might* happen if suddenly everyone starts telecommuting at once due to a crisis. It's from ComputerWeek and was written during the very similar bird flu freak-out:

Stella Commute said...

Thanks for writing, Remote Revolution. I agree that a real crisis with everyone on the interwebs all at once could likely present some significant slowdown in performance. And of course, there are a large number of jobs that kind of have to be done in person -- retail, nursing, etc etc etc. I am glad it's not my job to worry about this kind of thing for a big company -- I keep myself online and stand ready to help other people use the technology at hand to get stuff done, even if we get quarrantined.