The Home Workplace and Enterprise Emergency Management
Leveraging the Home Workplace for Enterprise Continuity
Look now how mortals are blaming the gods, for they say that evils come from us, butin fact they themselves have woes beyond their share because of their own follies.
Homer, The Odyssey, Greek epic poet (800 BC – 700 BC)
Today, in the face of unprecedented threats in both the information and physical realms, all public and private sector enterprises are seeking the means to withstand whatever may befall them, and to ensure that any Achilles Heel is both identified and well protected. Homer expected this of his heroes and today’s stake-holders expect no less of your enterprise. Indeed, the investments required to assure that you can continue to operate – come what may – have an infinite benefit, because failing to make them could mean total failure at a critical time. It makes the accountants divide by zero!
Here in California, with significant fire, flood and earthquake threats, most large enterprises have business continuity plans and IT disaster recovery plans in place, or are actively developing them. However, few realize that one of the best protections against virtually all types of threat – be it terrorist attack, pandemic or even a prolonged power grid failure – is the one which costs very little to implement, and brings many side benefits too. It is called deployment to the home workplace.
The home workplace has been practical since the early 1980’s, although none of the software or system vendors or communications providers have provided optimal facilities and equipment for it. Small and medium businesses in the Southland have adapted very well to a decentralized workstyle but large enterprises have often found the transition more difficult, particularly in terms of culture. In many large government departments and private companies middle managers have resisted workplace decentralization, claiming that they cannot supervise workers they cannot see. In many others ‘telecommuting’ has been seen purely as an employment policy issue and was thus administered by Human Resources. While human factors are certainly an important part of any home workplace program, the fact is that workflow, technology and logistics are just as important – but they are given short shrift (if covered at all) in most HR-generated telecommuting policies.
An organization which funds and encourages every information worker to develop a fully functional home workplace – and to use it as often as practical – is inherently better prepared for any outside influence which disrupts its business processes, information holdings, systems or physical facilities. This is true simply because if both the management team, and most other information workers, can instantly revert to working at home – and can continue doing so for an indefinite period – it is almost impossible for any type of threat to completely disable the organization.
Assessing Your Homergency Response Potential
An assessment of your business operations – and culture – as well as a review and validation of your existing threat-risk assessment is the first step towards determining how much a home workplace program would help your organization during a serious emergency. We then construct a home workplace program which will not only help reduce critical vulnerabilities, but also be popular with not only with employees, but also with other internal and external stakeholders. We develop a practical business-operational-technical plan and a statement of its costs, opportunities and benefits. Key deliverables include:
- Statement of Homergency Potential
- Home Workplace Program Plan
- Home Workplace Business Case / Operational Justification Statement
We offer a short-duration, two month Homergency Management Feasibility Assessment project at a fixed cost of $25K. This project deliverables provides executive management with a clear basis for:
- adopting a serious – and balanced – home workplace program;
- amending the IT Strategic Plan and IT Security Plan as required; and
- briefing package for Board of Directors / Shareholders about Homergency Management.
Benefits of a Homergency Management Strategy
The following are the key benefits of adopting a Homergency Management Strategy:
- improve ability of the enterprise to survive natural and manmade disasters as well as prolonged interruptions to trunk services;
- compliment existing business continuity planning, information security and disaster recovery planning at relatively low incremental cost;
- increase employee work flexibility, creativity and satisfaction; and
- reduce your organization’s environmental, energy and economic (cost) footprint.