Remote Work Reminder: Flu Season Is Here

By Donald Sears  |  Posted 2009-11-23

Equipping workers with the ability to work remotely is not a priority for over half of companies, finds a Cisco Systems study on remote access released Nov. 23. Of the 502 IT managers surveyed, more than half (53 percent) said less than half of their employees have remote access, and nearly a quarter (21 percent) don't have any remote access set up at all. Of that non-access group, 38 percent said business requirements "did not necessitate it," according to a statement.

With cold season here and the rapidly spreading nature of influenza, it's a wonder that more companies aren't equipped with remote access to help keep threats to productivity in check. One bad viral season can push projects and deadlines off schedule and over budget. Managers, having some fault tolerance with employees, especially in an era of deep financial cost-cutting, will go a long way in keeping budgets and customers.

If your human resources department or management does not have flu season business continuity processes in place for your department or company, it might not be a bad time to ask for recourse. Smart companies will want you to stay home and keep the germs away, but productivity plans need to be in place.

According to Cisco's report, those companies that have remote access say they see benefits like:

  • 62 percent increased employee productivity
  • 57 percent increase in employee satisfaction
  • 42 percent reduction in overhead costs

"During certain times of year, events such as severe weather or peak flu season tend to keep large numbers of workers out of the office," Jeff Neronha, manager of network engineering and ops for the City of San Antonio, said in a statement. "At these times we are reminded that remote technology is not just convenient but critical to our business operation, allowing workers to communicate and share documents with a high degree of security from multiple locations."

The Center for Disease Control has advice for those companies looking to deal with a swine flu problem or other viral outbreaks.

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