Most Companies Ill Prepared for Pandemic

Basex report says most large companies don't have the right policies to handle extended absenteeism and other pandemic related issues.
Posted December 23, 2005

David Needle

If the avian flu became an epidemic here, or worse, a worldwide pandemic, is your company prepared?

Most likely the answer is no, and that's a big problem according to Basex, a New York-based research firm that specializes in collaborative business environments.

In a report released this week, Basex says eighty percent of large companies worldwide are ill-prepared for business continuity in the event of a pandemic type event. "But people need to think about planning. The time to install IT infrastructure is not in the middle of a pandemic."

The report includes two case studies. One details work that IBM has done which Spira says is "about as prepared as a company could be." The other is about New York City, which Spira is highly critical of for its "thou shalt not tele-work" policy for its 350,000 employees.

IBM has instituted what it calls a "collaborative business environment" which enables many of its 320,000 to work remotely as the need arises.

"Most people at IBM could work from home and the business would not suffer," said Mike Wing, vice president of strategic communications at IBM, in the report. "On any given day, more than 40 percent of the company's workforce does not report to an IBM facility."

Spira attributes the lack of preparedness at most companies to not taking the threat seriously enough. But, as the residents of New Orleans found out this year, and New Yorkers affected by this week's transit strike, bad things can strike unexpectedly.

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