Experts believe that a flu pandemic is very likely but they do not know when. Last year, the world was concerned about a possible Avian flu outbreak or H5N1 (bird flu). This year, the H1N1 (Swine Flu) pandemic has evolved to the point that President Obama has declared a "national emergency" to deal with the situation. The CDC has confirmed the flu is now widespread in 48 states. A pandemic is the spread of a single disease which spreads rapidly from person to person and can spread around the world in days or months causing serious illness and deaths. Much like individuals and families must be prepared for a flu outbreak; businesses must also take steps to be ready.
Things You Will NeedSupplies to provide for healthy hygiene at the work place
Most companies have existing policies and procedures dealing with sick time and compensation. These should be reviewed, updated and any adjustments for the special circumstances that a flu pandemic may cause be accounted for. If the company does not have existing sick time policies and procedures, they should be written and approved prior to a flu outbreak.
The second step is to develop a plan on how the business is going to continue during a pandemic. The plan should include a section containing an emergency communications plan for contacting employees in the event the business must close or have a limited staff. The plan should detail how flexible work schedules will be implemented and also provide for employees to work from home if possible.
The third step is to maintain a healthy environment in the workplace. Have guidelines on hygiene to include proper hand washing, disinfecting work surfaces including telephones, door knobs and other areas that people touch and cough and sneeze etiquette. Flu symptoms may not show up for a few days so employees may not know they have the flu but they can still pass on the germs.
Much like individuals and families must be prepared for a flu outbreak; businesses must also take steps to be ready.