Tech biz avoids swine flu by working from home

Tech giants prepare for the worst, ensuring that all employees are fully equipped to work from home in the event of a widespread swine flu outbreak

One of the greatest and most liberating things about modern mobile computing and mobile comms technologies is the opportunity to work from home, on the go and pretty much anywhere and everywhere that is NOT your office.

And with the looming threat of (and panic about) the potential widespread outbreak of swine flu, tech firms – including Sprint Nextel, Microsoft, General Electric, IBM, and Dell - are leading the charge when it comes to emergency plans to enable their entire workforce work remotely, to prevent spread of the disease amongst employees.

After all, a healthy and happy workforce is better than a sneezing, bed-ridden one. Or a dead one, for that matter…

Emergency Incident Management

CNN reports on Sprint Nextel's Emergency Incident Management team's extensive emergency plans to deal with the outbreak of a global flu pandemic, with employees already banned from travel to Mexico late last week.

Gartner advises its clients to prepare for the worst case scenario, ensuring that the best remote comms technologies are in place to enable businesses to run smoothly with most of their staff working from home.

"As the World Health Organization moves from a phase 4 alert to a phase 5 alert, which goes beyond the level achieved by both the Avian and SARS outbreaks, the likelihood of a major pandemic is almost certain, " according to Ken McGee, a vice president and research fellow at Gartner.

"And it's very important for companies to have a pandemic contingency plan in place. That said, this is a time not for panic, but for straight talk and preparation."

"We are strongly encouraging everyone to work from home," added Microsoft spokesman Kevin Kutz

TechRadar has contacted a number of major tech companies with regional headquarters in the greater London region, including Microsoft, Sony, Orange, Vodafone, Google and others, to find out more about what plans UK tech firms have in place to deal with a widespread swine flu outbreak. Stay tuned for updates.