How to prepare your business for the flu season

This year’s flu season could potentially affect your business and employees. The H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, has spread rapidly around the globe. One of the best ways to battle the flu season is by preparing your company now. Developing a game plan today will put you in a better position to keep operations running smoothly should the flu hit your workplace.

Here are six tips to prepare your business for flu season:

  • Educate your employees: Inform workers about symptoms of the flu and how to prevent its spread to others. Post signs about good hygiene and put anti-bacterial soap or sanitizer in the office kitchen and bathrooms. Routinely wipe down computer keyboards, phones, door knobs, and light switches.
  • Develop an absenteeism plan: How will you operate if there is significant absenteeism from sick workers, or those who stay home to care for ill family members? Determine, for example, who will assume the lead role if a manager becomes sick, or who will be responsible for payroll if your accountant is sent home.
  • Alternative work arrangements: Train employees on how to telecommute from their home and set expectations for them if they have to work from home.
  • Encourage vaccinations: Consider making flu shots available to your employees by brining in a service, or by subsidizing the cost for them to get them on their own.
  • Keep sick workers home: Encourage sick workers to stay home without fear of losing their jobs. Workers who have flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, sweating) should stay home and not come to work until they’ve been fever-free for at least 24 hours. It may seem like an unbearable hardship for you, but you’ll have an even harder time if employees who contract the virus spread it to others.
  • In case of an emergency: Have everyone’s mobile number handy to contact, or develop a phone tree to get the word out.For more information on the H1N1 virus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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