War, Pestilence, and the Second Coming: Is your Workplace Ready?

Starting the New Year this morning with a quick look at the news, I saw this AP story: “Poll: Americans see gloom, doom in 2007″

This story reports on an Associated Press-AOL News poll about Americans’ predictions for 2007.

Poll findings include:

  • 60% think the U.S. will be the victim of a terrorist attack.
  • 60% think it likely that a biological or nuclear weapon will be unleashed elsewhere.
  • 70% predict a major natural disaster in the U.S.
  • 29 % think it likely that the U.S. will withdraw from Iraq.
  • 35 % predict the draft will be reinstated.
  • 25 % anticipate the second coming of Christ.

Hmm . . . I can understand people hoping for that last one; it would kind of make everything else irrelevant, wouldn’t it?

But then Christians have been anticipating the second coming for over 2000 years now, which really makes me wonder what 25% of Americans think is so special about 2007. . .

In any event, these predictions raises some workplace issues worthy of some thought as businesses enter the new year. Here, I offer some of my research on these issues.

First, what do potential terrorist attacks, biological or nuclear weapons, and major natural disasters such as hurricanes or a flu pandemic have in common?

The need for business continuity and recovery planning.

As we were just reminded by the recent Taiwan earthquake, IT connections can be a point of vulnerability during disasters. So disaster preparedness to reduce IT vulnerability is important.

On the other hand, with proper preparation, IT systems allow distributed work, temporary operational relocation, and telecommuting options that can be invaluable to maintain operations during a disaster. So IT preparedness can have a positive impact, ameliorating disaster-caused operational hardship, not just avoiding IT disasters.

I have put together an extensive set of resources on disaster preparedness, which you may view as an annotated list here, or follow as a Trailfire trail by starting here and clicking the arrow at the top of the “notecards.”

Second, the (somewhat contradictory) poll predictions about the Iraq war and return of the draft reminded me that employers will be seeing increasing numbers of returning servicemen and women.

So employers may find that they need to brush up on their legal obligations under federal laws protecting veterans employment rights.

To that end, here’s a brief trail, with annotation here, and “trailhead” here.

Lastly, this poll’s remarkable (at least to me) insight into Americans’ contemporary views about the “end times” serves as a reminder of the religious diversity of the modern American workplace.

(I suspect that among the 75% who do not share this “end time” belief there are quite a few who think those who have this belief are just plain “nuts” and don’t mind saying so.)

This diversity creates practical and legal challenges, and I have also prepared a brief collection of resources on this subject, as an annotation here, with a “trailhead” here.

Leave a Reply