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Bird Flu Pandemic: Will Telecommuting Work on Wall Street?

While most Wall Street firms plan to rely on telecommuting in the case of a pandemic, new in-depth results of a financial industry drill show that few employees actually did telecommute at all....

While most large financial institution firms plan to rely on telecommuting in the case of a pandemic - new results of a financial industry drill show that few employees actually did telecommute at all.In a new in-depth report on last fall's bird flu pandemic drill, regulators suggested that financial organizations should seriously evaluate the potential effectiveness of their telecommuting plans during a pandemic.

Small and medium organizations are more likely to rely on strategies such as staggered shifts and personal space limitations in the case of a pandemic since many employees' job functions require them to be on site, they do not have the necessary IT equipment, and there are security concerns with respect to remote access, they said.

But large organizations plan to heavily rely on telecommuting. Prior to the drill, most of them said they had already excercised their telecommuting capabilities.

But their telecommuting plans turned out to be somewhat of a disappointment: During the height of the pandemic drill, one-third of large organizations reported that only 26-50% of their employees telecommuted.

Further, companies reported that they had previously tested systems used for telecommuting for less than half of their staff.

At the end of the exercise, most participants considered their telecommuting plans only minimally to moderately effective, regulators said.

The 3-week pandemic drill was carried out by the U.S. Treasury, together with SIFMA and the Financial and Banking Information Infrastructure Committee (FBIIC).

2,775 financial firms took part.While most Wall Street firms plan to rely on telecommuting in the case of a pandemic, new in-depth results of a financial industry drill show that few employees actually did telecommute at all.... Melanie Rodier has worked as a print and broadcast journalist for over 10 years, covering business and finance, general news, and film trade news. Prior to joining Wall Street & Technology in April 2007, Melanie lived in Paris, where she worked for the International Herald ... View Full Bio

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