Defend Your Business from H1N1

The H1N1 flu shows no signs of stopping. Most business professionals already know the basics of avoiding this virus: hand washing, stay at home when you are sick, and avoid sneezing or coughing on others. However, these measures simply aren’t enough to stop the spread of the virus. Here are some additional steps that you can take to defend your small business from the effects of H1N1:

  • Stock up. Certain types of supplies around the office can help make employees more comfortable and deter the spread of H1N1. Basics like tissues should be made available on every desk, as well as in restrooms and break rooms. Hand sanitizer is another essential that you should make readily available. Keep large dispensers available in public areas and distribute individual bottles to employees to keep at desks. Finally, antibacterial wipes should be kept in stock at all times. Encourage staff to wipe of their desks, telephones and computer keyboards at least once a week. Implementing these measures early on can prevent the spread of H1N1 and other bacteria or viruses in the workplace.

  • Prepare for the worst. If H1N1 becomes a problem in your business, it is important that you have a contingency plan in place. This means critical business functions (such as payroll, invoicing, inventory, etc.) should be shared amongst several different employees. Cross-train your employees to cover for others that could be impacted negatively by illness. Develop plans to allow employees to work from home in times of adversity. Allow key personnel to practice critical business functions that they typically aren’t responsible for on a regular basis. It also doesn’t hurt to create a detailed policies and procedures manual to help employees cope when someone is out sick. This manual can be instrumental in keeping the business afloat in the face of adversity.

  • Revise absence policies. If your policies regarding absence contain measures that discourage employees from missing work, or harsh penalties for missing work, revise them. Policies should not discourage employees from taking time off when they are ill. Many policies require a written note from a doctor when employees are out sick. Consider revising measures like this during times when hospitals and doctors’ offices are swamped with patients. This is perhaps one of the most critical measures that can reduce the risk of H1N1 spread in workplace. In addition, if someone comes to work and is obviously ill, encourage them to go home and take the rest of the day off.

You can never be too careful when it comes to protecting the best interest of your employees and your business as a whole. These steps will keep your employees healthy and your business fortified against H1N1.

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