CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Culture

SARS underscores need for mobile workers

The rapid outbreak of a deadly flu-like virus underlines how ill-equipped Asia-Pacific companies are in supporting a remote workplace, according to research firm Gartner.

    The rapid outbreak of a deadly flu-like virus has underlined how ill-equipped Asia-Pacific companies are in supporting a remote workplace, according to market researcher Gartner.

    Gartner's assessment comes in response to the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which has quickly spread to nearly 20 countries. According to the World Health Organization, there are more than 2,220 cases reported worldwide and 78 deaths as of Wednesday.

    Governments across the region are struggling to contain the epidemic, and companies are trying to mitigate the effects of the disease.

    In light of the epidemic, how should businesses tackle the need for a stable work force? Before setting up telecommuting situations, companies should identify the number of people involved, said Gartner research director Dion Wiggins.

    The next step is to organize a virtual private network (VPN). For employees who use desktops, notebooks can be purchased or leased. Employees should be equipped with communications tools required for tasks such as remote conferencing.

    "Companies should also add a remote access policy to disaster work-force planning and management procedures," he added.

    From a human resources perspective, he said, staff should be permitted to work from home if they are uncomfortable with the risk of travel or the office environment.

    He advised companies to use a single source, usually the personnel department, to disseminate information in order to save time, resources and confusion.

    "Now is the time to get serious about setting up a virtual workplace. It doesn't just support business continuity [but] offers benefits when there isn't a crisis," Wiggins said.

    ZDNet Australia's Fran Foo reported from Sydney.