Influenza Pandemics

IMGP0727Well no doubt by now most organisations are running round ensuring that they are prepared should the present swine flu outbreak become pandemic.  Lets hope not.  From personal experience here are the things that people tend to not think about when planning:

  • If childcare facilities close parents won’t get to a normal place of work or be able to work normal hours.
  • More employees than you think may be called away from work to support statutory authorities due to their involvement in voluntary activities which may be called upon (certainly in the UK several voluntary agencies are included in the Civil Contingencies Act: St John Ambulance, British Red Cross, Salvation Army and WRVS).
  • Are your managers and team leads ready for distributed teams (many will be but many won’t be)?
  • Can people who use desktop computers do their work from their home computer?
  • …. there’ll be more!
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    1. …and unfortunately when disaster strikes, if they aren’t already there, it will be too later to put these facilities in place or prepare staff to work remotely.


    2. James makes a very good point.

      Lots, lots more.

      – the contention rates on your ISP will go through the roof so it might not matter how much Internet bandwidth you have.
      – the service desk that you use for support may not be there, so anything that breaks, breaks.
      – the postal service that you are relying on to get things out there may not be working.
      – people will still do inappropriate stuff, even during a disaster, you need to try and stop them using up precious scarce resources.

      The fundamental issue is that like in most IT projects, it won’t be the £10,000 server that stops you working, it will be the £10 cable, or, in other words, it will be the small insignificant thing that you currently can;t even see that will catch you out, that’s why it’s so important to run through the plan beforehand.


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