Friday, January 05, 2007

Homeworking and flu in the City

In an article on headlined Flu simulation puts spotlight on homeworking, Steve Ranger looks at how City firms have been looking at how they would continue operating if there were to be a flu pandemic. "Companies' homeworking strategies were also tested and "many issues" surfaced," he writes, "including how to ensure effective compliance and control over remote activity, IT security considerations and how to maintain tech support, the report found. It said the exercise also raised the question of whether the telecoms infrastructure would be able to support large-scale homeworking for a prolonged period when staff shortages in the telecoms sector progressively eroded maintenance capability.

"Investment banks responded to the (simulated) growing shortages of front, middle and back office staff by reducing trading volumes but throughout the scenario "virtually all" trading was conducted on-site as businesses were not sure they would be able to maintain levels of compliance and control to allow trading from home on a prolonged basis. But the report said that while financial infrastructure providers produced regular updates on their operational status to the market throughout the exercise, due to the high level of automation of their processes, it appears that only very high levels of absenteeism would threaten their critical functions."

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