Posted on / Updated on / in Blog & H1N1 /

We’ve heard little about the dreaded H1N1 “Swine Flu” bug …. supposedly coming to torture the American workplace this fall.  There have been many skeptics about whether or not it is going to impact our population, and to what degree.  The reality is that across the globe it is presently impacting 20-50% of populations, and many deaths are occuring.

As prudent business professionals, we should prepare for what this flu may bring us in our workplace.  It could be as simple as a “work from home” program, but more likely an operational concern – what do we do if the entire accounting department is out sick with H1N1?  Creating contingencies for workplace illnesses and updating policies for illness (maybe even FMLA) and allowing for appropriate time off should be something we prepare for.

Many parts of the US have suffered from crazy weather issues, whether it’s an ice storm (power outage as a result), flooding, tornados or other unusual situations that have created business stops.  These parts of the country have developed “time off” contingency plans….and now we’re at a point to consider mass workplace illness programs.

What should we do at this point?

  1. Create plans that address workplace illnesses – be specific that if people are sick, they should stay home, address sanitary practices, requesting time off and “phone/email trees” for communication purposes
  2. Purchase additional containers of hand sanitizer and instruct employees to use them regularly
  3. Address issues such as potential school closings and parental leave
  4. Consider the concern – if we really do have 40% of our workforce ill, what will  business do to have continuity? Outline a plan to address this.

We can only hope and pray that H1N1 will not impact our country like it has so many others – we need to be smart and savvy business professionals and address preparedness now – contact us for help with your plan!

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about the author: Amy Letke

Amy Newbanks Letke, SPHR, GPHR, is the Founder of Integrity HR, Inc. Amy provides workplace solutions to improve performance, reduce liability and increase profits. She is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs and business owners achieve success.