Vodafone completes Business Continuity Test

Up to 1,500 Vodafone employees work remotely as Auckland headquarters shuts for one day

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) threat, Vodafone New Zealand has completed a trial shutdown of its Auckland Smales Farm headquarters, asking approximately 1,200 of its office-based staff to work from remote locations for the day.

The trial was set up to allow the digital services company to test its Business Continuity Plan (BCP) and work through any gaps identified. Vodafone NZ’s Human Resources Director, Katie Williams said the process has been an important exercise.

“Being faced with the possibility of a threat to the health and wellbeing of our people such as Coronavirus has forced us to activate our business continuity plan and ensure our systems and processes were all able to cope with a worst-case scenario,” she says.

“We have had flexible work policies and smart-working tools for a number of years now but it was important for us to test these at scale and ensure that in doing so we can still maintain a great network service for New Zealand.

“This test has helped us assess our internal communications, as well as the capacity of our IT systems and processes and we are pleased with how it has gone.”

At peak, Vodafone had approximately 1,500 employees logged into its virtual private network (VPN) system throughout New Zealand as some staff from its other office locations also worked remotely. Only the odd IT issue was reported such as difficulty with video conferencing or document saving. Almost 40 percent of the customer service staff were also able to log into the phone system from home with no adverse effects on phone queues.

“We are not saying our business continuity plan is perfect,” says Williams. “The test also exposed some areas for us to focus on and find solutions for. Our video conferencing and messaging systems felt the strain of so many virtual meetings at once and there were still a small number of staff that had to be in the office today.

“An ideal plan in times of a crisis would see us able to shut down all our buildings with no change to the running of our business. We are now working through options for how we can relocate our business critical staff should we ever need to and ironing out any wrinkles this test has raised.”


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