Apr 29, 2009 (12:04 PM EDT)
Swine Flu Prompts Calls For More Telecommuting

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Organizations should consider telework programs to deal with the threat of swine flu, Telework Exchange said Tuesday.

The public-private partnership focused on promoting telework noted that telework is an important part of planning for continuity of operations during emergencies. The organization helps promote communication between employees who telecommute, their managers, and IT professionals.

The Office of Personnel Management recently sent a report on federal government telework plans to Congress and showed that 60% of federal agencies include telework in plans for continuity of operations but just more than 7% of federal employees telework regularly. Telework Exchange said that in order for telework to be effective it must be incorporated into everyday operations and tested regularly.

"Telework is not a 'break glass in case of emergency' solution," Cindy Auten, general manager of Telework Exchange, said in a statement.

The group also said telework is key to allowing organizations to continue to function during emergency situations, especially when people don't want to go to an office.

"As households stock up on necessities and watch for school notices, organizations must embrace telework now to inoculate themselves against the swine flu threat. We encourage workers across America to ask their managers about telework options now."

The group also said it's important for the federal government to take the lead in telework programs.

Telework Exchange offers tools and programs to help companies adopt and promote telework programs for continuity of operations. The group offers resources for security, technology, best practices, and legislation supporting telework. It also has online tools to help employees determine their eligibility for telework and to calculate the financial and environmental benefits.


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