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by Debby Millhouse, President, CEO Inc.

The H1N1 flu vaccine has recently arrived in Charlotte. However, as anyone who’s ever gotten a flu shot knows, the shot doesn’t always work. The first flu pandemic since 1968 has been a tricky one to get rid of, with cases increasing in number and in severity over the summer and going into the colder months. Should this pandemic hit your office, you need to be prepared for as much as a forty percent absentee rate. Here are some tips to help you plan for a flu outbreak at your place of business.

  • First, it is vital that you construct a a workable, efficient plan to continue running your business in the event of an outbreak of H1N1. If an outbreak hits, there will be no more time for planning.
  • Institute a stay-at-home policy. Successful companies will urge employees who think they may be experiencing symptoms of the flu to stay home until they feel better, in order to avoid spreading the disease. Although there may be a certain amount of calls from overly anxious cold- sufferers – or flat-out false calls – the stay-at-home policy will ultimately prevent the loss of productivity that would occur if a substantial portion of the staff were infected.
  • Consider a stay-at-home policy for everyone until the outbreak dies down. I’m not suggesting you shut down your business and dole out the sick pay; I’m suggesting that, if your business is suited to it, you allow employees to telecommute in the event of a local outbreak. Should the rate of infection get up to the 40 percent level, even healthy people will want to stay home to avoid coming down with the H1N1 themselves.
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