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Business unprepared for flu-flood winter

2009-07-16

July 16, 2009, Press Dispensary. British business is blithely sleepwalking into a winter of disruption under the twin threats of swine flu and flooding. This is the conclusion of home working expert Gary Wilson, MD of Leeds based Coldbeancreations (http://www.coldbeancreations.com), which specialises in secure home working for employees.

Through several recent winters, British news has been dominated by scenes of towns and villages under floodwater, and there has been plenty of understandable discussion about human misery but little reflection on the cost and damage to businesses. Yet that damage can be widespread when it affects not only businesses in the path of the flood but those whose employees are unable to get into work ... and whilst the businesses under water may be covered by insurance, those that cannot function because of staff shortages just have to get on with it.

The environment agency is this year warning that one in six homes is at risk of flooding*. That also means the potential for one in six employees to be unable to get into work.

But this coming winter also offers the threat of swine flu. The present strain of swine flu may (so far) be quite mild but as autumn and winter set in, even the mild form is expected to generate as many as 100,000 new cases a day, with the official NHS advice being that for any suspected flu, even mildly affected patients must stay at home**.

“This winter, flu and flood together could lead to widespread employee absenteeism,” says Gary Wilson. “But few, if any, businesses are even thinking of such disruption let alone planning for it, despite the fact that it could cost them dear; indeed, it could devastate a smaller business!”

The key to surviving flood and flu disruption, believes Wilson, is to recognise that with just a little advance preparation, many employees could continue working from home. “As long as they plan for home working,” continues Wilson, “many businesses can carry on almost as normal.”

Leaving it until disaster strikes is not an option. “Advance planning means identifying how home working can be implemented: ensuring that employees will have access to a computer, of course, and ensuring there will be a broadband connection; if flooding is the risk and phone lines could go down, this may entail setting up a mobile internet connection.”

“But a connected computer isn’t enough on its own,” advises Wilson. “They can only carry on if there’s a properly secure connection between the remote computer and the company servers, coupled to a system for monitoring employee activity. Without those, the business must either panic and throw caution to the wind, or lock remote employees out and prevent them from doing the jobs they’re capable of doing.”

Such connections are Coldbeancreations’ speciality. Its e-HomeOffice product is a small piece of software which sits on the remote computer to provide a secure connection between home and office, ensuring that all data sent between the two is encrypted and that the employee’s activities are monitored and logged. e-HomeOffice means peace of mind when it comes to security and employee supervision.

“A little forethought and a small investment in the right resources could make all the difference if disaster strikes,” concludes Wilson. “The twin threats of flu and flood must be treated with deadly seriousness but need not spell disaster.”

e-HomeOffice is described more fully on the Coldbeancreation website at http://www.coldbeancreations.com .

* http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/research/library/publications/108660.aspx
** http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/h//i/health/8130097.stm

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Notes for editors
Coldbeancreations Ltd is based in Leeds and was established in May 2007 to provide software systems and services for home and office users and network monitoring systems for SMEs. The company employs three people.

For further information, please contact:
Gary Wilson, director
Coldbeancreations Ltd
Tel: 07725 616 923
Email:
Site: www.coldbeancreations.com

Media contacts

Gary Wilson, director
Tel: 07725 616 923
Email:
Site: www.coldbeancreations.com

Keywords/tags
Swine flu flooding winter home working

Permalink: http://pdpr.uk/en92330/business-unprepared-for-flu-flood-winter.html