July 08, 2009

OVERLAND PARK, Kan.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jul. 8, 2009-- As the White House convenes a one-day H1N1 flu preparedness summit to prepare the nation for the possibility of a more severe outbreak of H1N1 flu, Sprint (NYSE:S) is encouraging businesses and customers to incorporate precautionary measures to prevent the spread of a flu virus and to ensure the productivity of employees who may be absent from work and using telecommuting options.

Because the unpredictable impact of a flu pandemic could cause economic disruptions if a large number of employees across the country aren’t working – either because they are sick or caring for a sick loved one, or they are isolating themselves to reduce the chance of exposure – Sprint recommends that businesses consider the following preparedness tips to ensure the productivity of their workforce during a pandemic:

  • Assess your particular telecommuting needs for a pandemic situation and scale your remote user capabilities appropriately. Employee absenteeism may increase significantly during the peak of an outbreak because of public health quarantines and school closings.
  • Enhance your social distancing plans by increasing video, web and audio conferencing capabilities.
  • Do not rely solely on residential Internet access to serve employees who plan to telecommute during a pandemic. Consider supplying them with tools such as Sprint Mobile Broadband Cards or Novatel Wireless MiFiTM 2200 devices.
  • Similar to what Sprint provides to various businesses and municipalities in collaboration with Cisco, IBM and Microsoft, integrate your telecom operations with a unified communications strategy system that (1) merges employee desktop and mobile phones, so that callers can dial a single number that rings both devices; (2) enables access to a voicemail and e-mail messages via computer software or mobile device vs. checking multiple systems; and (3) allows employees to instantly know which teammates are available and connect to them at any given moment with such services as corporate instant messaging or other collaboration tools.

In October 2005, Sprint’s Corporate Business Continuity Office instituted a Pandemic Planning Committee, which meets monthly to assess effective coordination among Sprint’s various business units in the event of pandemic flu. Some of the tasks that the Sprint Pandemic Planning Committee undertakes include:

  • Requiring all individual Sprint business units to conduct a Pandemic Impact Analysis (PIA) to assess how pandemic flu might impact the unit.
  • Identifying key contacts within local, state and federal government with whom Sprint should build relationships before a crisis occurs.
  • Managing protocols to prevent the spread of flu among Sprint retail, field and corporate employees, including hygienic guidelines for cleaning desks/individual workspaces and distancing employees.
  • Coordinating telecommuting options to ensure key Sprint employees can continue to work from anywhere.
  • Conducting assessments of Sprint’s key vendors to maintain our access to energy, raw materials and switched telephone network.

Additionally, the Sprint Emergency Response Team (ERT) has a strong track record of assisting first responders and emergency officials. During crises, Sprint can deploy Cell Site on Wheels (COWs or mobile cell towers), which are self-contained mobile cell sites; Satellite Cell on Light Trucks (SatCOLTS); Sprint Mobile Broadband Cards; and Nextel Direct Connect® devices, which help facilitate communications for response agencies. Public Safety officials requesting emergency assistance should call the Sprint Nextel Public Safety Call Center – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – at (888) 639-0020.

During the initial spread of H1N1 virus in April 2009, Sprint’s work to prepare for infections and disruptions to the wireless and wireline services was featured by various news outlets, most notably:

Click the following link for a complete list of Sprint’s preparedness tips for businesses and consumers to use during a pandemic flu. To learn more about Sprint’s converged solutions and unified communications, visit www.sprint.com/convergence or www.seamlessenterprise.com.


Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two wireless networks serving more than 49 million customers at the end of the first quarter of 2009; industry-leading mobile data services; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. For more information, visit www.sprint.com.

Source: Sprint

Crystal N. Davis, 571-288-6806