Employers Ill Prepared if Employees Can't Get to Work

November 23, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – A nationwide survey by Cisco indicates companies may be unprepared to enable the majority of their employees to effectively telework during workforce disruptions such as transit failures, natural disasters, or other situations in which employees can't get to the office for extended periods.

More than half (53%) of IT executives surveyed said less than half their firm’s employees are currently set up to work remotely, and 21% said they have no employees enabled to work remotely, according to a press release. Asked why more employees did not have access to the technology that would enable them to work outside the office, 38% said business requirements do not necessitate it.   

Only 22% of respondents reported that their current remote-access solutions have positioned their companies for disaster preparedness and business continuity. The press release said just 15% of the respondents listed ‘pandemic or other disaster preparedness’ as a top business driver for providing remote access to employees, and only 5% listed it as the primary business driver.

However, the survey results indicate organizations do understand the benefits of telework, as 71% of respondents said employee productivity is a key business driver for providing remote access, and 55% reported that enabling efficient and competitive business operations is a key driver for offering remote access.

Of those who had adopted mobility and remote-access technology, 62% said it had resulted in increased employee productivity, with 57% noting an increase in employee satisfaction and 42% reporting a reduction in overhead costs.

Results varied somewhat by industry, with businesses in the health care and finance industries being better prepared, in general, for a pandemic or other disaster situation than those in the retail, education, and government sectors, Cisco said.

The survey, conducted by InsightExpress and commissioned by Cisco, interviewed 502 information technology decision makers from U.S. businesses of all sizes.