By: Helios on September 16th, 2009

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Is Your Business Prepared to Work Remotely?

Best Practices

With increasing fears surfacing about the impact of H1N1 on businesses, many employers have relied on contingency plans to ensure readiness. H1N1, also known as the Swine Flu, has already begun impacting businesses worldwide, forcing all industries to be prepared.

Consider the following scenario:

You are the CEO of a successful consulting firm that relies heavily on fellow employees and technology to aid in everyday interactions with your clients. A Division Head has just returned from a business meeting in New York and has called a team meeting. Although he appears to not be feeling well, his first instinct is to shrug it off and continue with his meeting. The next day, five employees arrive at work feeling sick. By the third day, it is confirmed that the entire office has been exposed to the H1N1 virus, so the firm is forced to close until further notice. Because the team has never adapted to working entirely in a remote capacity, serious problems arise very quickly. Within a week, chaos ensues as communication breaks down, leaving multiple clients without support.

If the firm had adapted a continuity plan for an outbreak like the H1N1, then the team would have been able to function remotely using their pre-planned flow of communication. Within this continuity plan, employees will have all of their questions answered in a simple guide to successfully working in a remote capacity that will best serve the client needs. The CEO in the scenario above failed to implement a plan as part of the company's best practices, which quickly led to the firm's loss of credibility among the business sector of the community.

To avoid being this CEO, the following tips have been outlined by Entrepreneur Magazine in a simple, six step plan that may be modified accordingly:

  1. Risk - Identify risks, evaluate each risk, prioritize, and manage to suit your company's needs.
  2. Impact - Identify which risks will have the greatest impact on your business.
  3. Strategy - Strengthen your company to eliminate current risks and their impact.
  4. Plan - Detail what actions will be taken to allow the company to work remotely.
  5. Test - Ensure that the plan works to be prepared when a true disaster occurs.
  6. Maintain - Keep the plan up-to-date by reviewing every three to six months.

Full details of this plan can be found on the Entrepreneur Magazine website.

The H1N1 outbreak is serving as a test for employers worldwide to re-evaluate their current policies and procedures. All companies must prepare themselves for success by adopting a contingency plan that will suit the company's needs to work in a remote capacity. Employees must be protected in the event that an outbreak does occur to avoid the domino effect of business failures worldwide. For more information on the H1N1 outbreak and how to better prepare your business, download your copy of the Pandemic Flu Continuity Plan Toolkit.