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Businesses must take sensible precautions in order to operate safely throughout the Swine Flu outbreak

08/07/2009

Recently the news has been dominated by Doomsday predictions surrounding the Swine Flu pandemic with some government agencies warning that up to 50% of the population could catch the illness.

The truth is that no one really knows how this or any other outbreak will evolve however it’s always good for businesses to be prepared for the unexpected.

Some businesses talk about Disaster Recovery plans however at Abbey we prefer use the less emotive term of Contingency Planning.

One myth which must be exploded is that C.P is expensive. Whilst it is feasible to spend a fortune “covering all eventualities”, it is also possible for businesses both big and small to have extremely cost-effective plans in place.

• Indentify your key personnel. Which employees are vital to keeping your business operational (Do you have backup staff?)
• If you have mobile workers do you ‘ground’ them and if so where would they be based?
• Most employees have access to broadband internet at home; can staff access your systems and servers when they are ‘off-site’?
• Keep an up-to-date and accessible contact list of all employees, suppliers and clients and communicate regularly using resilient systems.
• In an emergency are you able to divert your telephone lines so that calls are still answered.
• Do you have access to a shared office or meeting room facility ‘off-site’?
• Clearly define what events trigger the various stages of your plan.

These are some of the essentials areas which need to be addressed in your Contingency Plan. The key is to make sure that once put in place and communicated the plan is tested and regularly updated.

Julie Calder, Abbey’s Managing Director comments: ‘I recognise the value of being able to continue to run a business safely, through an emergency. We regularly test and update our own Contingency Plan and in relation to Swine Flu we have put steps in place to help prevent possible cross-site infections. We have also distributed ‘Good hygiene’ leaflets and antibacterial wipes to our staff and office clients.’

She states: ‘Demand for Virtual Offices is increasing as businesses come to recognise that they can form a cost-effective and vital element of a Contingency Plan. Phone lines can be re-routed and calls answered in your company name or diverted to any number or voice mail facility. Key staff can re-locate to a ‘Plug and Play’ office or access a network of meeting rooms across the UK. All of these could help keep your business operational during a emergency'.
 
Even if Swine Flu passes over relatively quickly it makes sense for businesses to prepare for the future. It will protect your staff, your clients and safeguard your business. Our range of  virtual offices can become an integral part of your Contingency Plan so tailor your package online today.