Flu Season 2009 – Seasonal & H1N1

by Cindy on September 1, 2009

According to the CDC the seasonal flu affects over 5 – 20% of the United States population is affected by seasonal flu; beginning as early as October, peaking in January and continuing into March.  H1N1 or the Swine Flu will strike during the same time-frame this year with the CDC projecting it to affect up to 90,000 people.  Both viruses are transmitted from person-to-person via respiratory droplets either directly or indirectly on objects.  Seasonal flu shots are now readily available nationwide while the shots for the H1N1 will not be available until sometime in October, after the virus has already begun to strike.

As a small or mid sized business seasonal flu can negatively affect your operations, with the addition of the H1N1 virus this year; your business could be left severely short-handed.  What do you implement during flu season to protect your employees and your business?

Do you have plans for flu preparation, temporary staffing and recovery plans?  It’s not too late – start preparing before your business is stricken.

Make Your Plans

Preparation Plan

Preparation is your best defense in preventing a major work-flow disruption in your business – you must assume that at least 5% of your employees (including yourself and key leaders) will be affected during the flu season.  By preparing and providing information you can keep the sick days to a minimum.

>Provide Information: The CDC offers free printable handouts, posters and videos to provide you and your employees with information on both the seasonal and H1N1 virus prevention. http://bit.ly/1IrMVs
>Encourage Inoculations:
*Obtain inoculation information from your local health department and hospitals and distribute to your employees.
*Motivate your employees to be inoculated.
*Consider providing paid time for scheduled clinics in your area – paying an hour to keep your employees healthy will be less costly than  paying sick time off and the resulting impacts to your business.
*Mobile inoculations, schedule with your health department or hospital to have at your location(s).  If your workforce does not meet the minimum requirements partner with your neighboring business.
>Encourage Rest & Sick Time:
*Although you will be short-handed, it is better for your associates and your business if they stay home while they are ill – the CDC is encouraging all those who have flu symptoms to stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever has subsided.

Temporary Staffing & Work Plan
Prepare a temporary staffing plan now including several options; have a plan A, B and C – your business will not be the only one affected!

>Temporary Agencies: Make contact now, provide list of positions and skills required to establish your account and needs.
>Virtual/Remote Staffing: Virtual staffing is now available in all areas of business, search out the companies, freelancers request quotes for specific skills.
>Loss of Staff Plan: Prepare a production plan assuming temporary staff is not available and have ready for communication to your employees and customers.

Recovery Plan

This is the most over-looked in crisis planning – businesses generally assume when all things return to “normal” everyone will resume their previous day-to-day job functions upon returning to work or their regular processes.  With pace that business moves today, any extended absence from the “norm” requires adjustment and often training to addresses those changes that took place which is why this section is critical to your plan.

>Debriefing: Include a meeting of those who have been out and those who have not.  The associates who have picked up the functions must provide a list of all communications, process updates, customer statuses, and any other information which will enable the returning associate to function without down time.
>Returning Training: Training for returning associates on all updated processes, new customers, customer changes.
>Customer Communications: Prepare a communication plan to update your customers, are their delays in orders, services and what date will operations be back to normal.

How can we help you prepare?  Essential Office Solutions is available to work with you to make your flu season plans – we can assist by providing temporary staffing options, preparing customer communications, creating training documents and communicating with your customers.  Contact us at info@eoseasy.com for details.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: