"Once we knew that swine flu was present, we sent home those who were unfortunate enough to have contracted the illness and put in place a business continuity strategy to protect the remaining staff," commented Polycom's solutions marketing director, EMEA, Ray McGroarty. "It was critical that we maintain operations at an optimum level."
For 'at risk' employees - in other words, those with possible underlying medical problems such as diabetes or asthma - the company provided home broadband connectivity where it wasn't already in place, as well as Polycom teleconferencing and personal videoconferencing equipment. Personal videoconferencing systems included Polycom's executive desktop units and the Polycom CMA (Converged Management Application) Desktop PC solution. These were augmented by Polycom Soundpoint and Soundstation phones for hands-free performance in audio environments. A Polycom RMX bridge provided the hub for both audio and videoconferencing.
As a result, up to 40 days of homeworking were recorded in the marketing department, including more than 140 individual teleconference meetings, which saved more than 90 hours of commuting among participating staff during the relevant period. The reduction in commuting by the marketing department also saved an estimated 1.2 tonnes of carbon.
"Overall, our experience throughout the swine flu epidemic has been a good one," noted McGroarty. "We have inhibited the spread of the illness through the organisation, encouraged flexible working practices and enhanced productivity while at the same time making further in-roads into reducing our carbon footprint. My message to any organisation in the same situation is that, by considering the well-being of your employees, you are also improving the business operation in several other important areas."