Pandemic Warnings Emphasize Importance of Communication Planning
VoiceNation, the premier provider of virtual voice solutions, warns businesses to plan now for their communications needs in the event of a severe flu or pandemic.
Standard business continuity planning that anticipates short-term, local disruptions will provide little assistance if the United States faces an avian flu pandemic. The World Health Organization warns that large geographical areas may be quarantined in the event of a pandemic, making remote location of critical operations problematic. Additionally, flu epidemics typically come in waves, spreading the impact over weeks or months. As a result, business planning based on single, short-term events may be insufficient.
Perhaps more challenging than rethinking relocation and a quick return to business as usual are predictions of high absenteeism.
- A recent Gartner report encourages businesses to update their continuity plans using a 25-30% absenteeism rate.
- The International Monetary Fund predicts that absenteeism could reach 40% as a pandemic spreads.
- The Congressional Budget Office predicts that a severe pandemic could cost the economy $600 billion in lost productivity.
With waves of disease, record levels of absenteeism could persist for months with rolling closures of transportation systems, schools, and businesses. Many of the absent will not be ill, simply unable to get to work.
“Companies with a suddenly dispersed work force can continue to operate effectively with good communication planning,” says Jay Reeder, CEO of VoiceNation. “Businesses can keep their employees informed as a crisis unfolds, maintain communications with customers and even continue to process orders with automated phone services and planning for remote communications–whether their employees are confined at home or quickly relocated. The good news is, businesses can protect their bottom lines with careful planning today.”
Reeder recommends that business owners and continuity planners:
- Create policies and establish technology platforms that support employees working from home and remote processing of transactions
- Offer a 1-800 hotline for employees to stay informed about the business’s status and expectations for employees as an epidemic unfolds
- Arrange teleconferencing facilities to maintain contact and work flow among staff, vendors, and customers
- Contract for automated call forwarding to enable customers and vendors to directly reach staff through the business’s main line, even if no one’s actually in the office.
For more tips on keeping your business in business, see the attached “Ten Tips for Staying in Touch and in Business” developed by VoiceNation or visit VoiceNation at www.voicenation.com.
For more information, contact:
Graham C. Taylor
1.866.766.5050, ext. 150
VoiceNation, America’s leader in virtual PBX and voicemail was founded in 2002 by President Jay Reeder and opened their Next Generation call centers in 2009. The company has grown to serve more than 40,000 customers including FEMA, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Dell, AIG and the U.S. Coast Guard. They leverage the very latest in proprietary technology solutions in order to deliver quality call answering services at the lowest cost to their customers. To learn more about VoiceNation and their services, please visit http://www.voicenation.com/.