"It's either a number to call to check if you need to come in. Or a lot of companies have outbound calling systems with robotic voice notifications."
4. Check access to your data centre facilities. Call the building owners of your data centre facilities around the globe and make sure you will have full access to them in the event of a local flu outbreak. You may need to establish a remote hot site or to shift work from one data centre to another. If you outsource data centre operations, include vendors in your business continuity plans.
"One centre might need to pick up additional work, or you may need to fly employees out of an area," Potterton says. "There are lots of scenarios that need planning."
5. Test your telework plans and systems. Many companies will rely on employees working from home in the event of a flu outbreak. However, their remote access systems may not be ready for so many employees using them at the same time. Experts recommend a trial run, where you allow a significant number of your staff to work from home for a day and then see how well your systems and applications function.
You may need to buy more ports or cards for your remote access systems. "Make sure you have high availability for your remote access systems," says Phil Hochmuth, senior analyst with Yankee Group. "Make sure you have failover to secondary remote access technologies. You want to provide as many external portals into the enterprise as you can."
6. Ensure key employees have broadband access. Dial-up access won't cut it for employees who need to use enterprise applications for an extended period of time. Make sure key employees have broadband access from home as well as mobile broadband access. Mobile data cards are a good solution, Hochmuth says.
"In a worst case scenario, people may not be working from home. They may be leaving the area for health or safety reasons, and they may need to take their laptops with them." Hochmuth recommends buying mobile broadband cards from multiple carriers. "If you get a lot of those to your most important employees, that's another high availability, load balancing tactic on the end user side," he says.