Continuity plan for Swine Flu

I landed at Sydney Airport last week and once we hit the arrival gate I noticed the stewardesses were suddenly masked.  It was a nervous 15 minutes while someone at the back of the plane was swabbed by a health official. I was thinking I might end up trapped in an airport hotel for a week or so –  thankfully that didn’t happen but it rammed home that Swine Flu may have a serious impact on your business.

Chatting to Hamish from Tank Communication earlier in the week, I was impressed that they  have put in place a business continuity plan for dealing with Swine Flu.

Great idea!

The most obvious strategy is ensuring that people can work from home.  Here are some things you might want to consider.

  1. Creating an Intranet page or document with all staff home contact details.
  2. Check if work computers will work at home.  Can documents be backed up on your network? Do you need a VPN to access to corporate systems?
  3. Is work email available from home?  If you are running Exchange do you have Outlook Web Access enabled?
  4. Set up on a standard instant messaging tool like Skype or Instant Messenger. Are all staff user names listed anywhere?
  5. Do you need to set policy around mobile phone usage or tolls while people are out of the office?
  6. If you have staff travelling back from overseas should they be quarantined for a few days?
  7. What is the trigger to send people home? How long should people stay away for? What is the trigger to bring them back?

There are some things we’ve come up with.  What are your suggestions?

3 Comments

Adam
June 17, 2009 at 7:45 pm

The BBC runs a similar plan, but with redundency – meaning two people with the same skillset.

One good tip is to do what we did recently, and put the plan into affect- send everyone home for a couple of days and see if they can do what they need to.
VPNs, getting firewall access, server access, and those sort of things are never that straight forward.

John Younger
June 18, 2009 at 9:01 am

For many of us a VPN is a must.
I recommend Check Point; I use it all of the time from home, it meets all of my needs, and the response time is acceptable (although I am in central London so would expect that).

Dermott Renner
June 20, 2009 at 10:34 am

Hi Rod, in Copenhagen and it is 2 degrees warmer than Auckland, so very cold.
Before I left my wifes brother in law in Sydney who is medical director for Roche said get a flu jab. While it is last years cocktail it will help to some degree.

Also went to the doctor and got some Tamiflu as I was travelling via LA to the UK and Europe.

Also took a set of Buccaline tablets before I went. While this does not stop the flu it easies the handling of a cold. Always take these before winter.

We supply tissues to staff and that anti-bacterial hand wash. Guys are the worst as they think a tissue is what you use after you have sneezed all over the ketboard.

I saw a Professor on TV in the UK after the woman died of swine and other complications and he said – wash your hands. In other words we need to re-educate ourselves about basic hygiene. How many died of flu last year in the UK and it never made the news – try 20,000. Flu kills a lot every year and this fluis just a different strain.

Oh and the other thing if any staff has a cold or flue they don’t come to work and if they do are sent home.

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