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Hot, achy, and sore all over: Don’t let the flumake your business sick!
Bird flu, swine flu, what’s next flu? That’s the questionmanybusinesses are asking as they develop flu preparednessplans to respond to the next big epidemic.Even though flu hasn’t grabbed many headlines this year,a report from Harvard University’s School of Public Healthsays employers are still concerned about absenteeism froma possible flu outbreak. The researchers surveyed morethan1,000 businesses nationwide. Two-thirds said their businesscouldn’t operate normally if more than half their workers were outfor two weeks and four in five predicted severe operating problems if halftheir employees missed a month of work.
Really though, what company could operate “normally” if half their staff wereout? But that’s what companies need to be planning for in the event of apandemic. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) predicts a flupandemic could affect as many as 40 percent of the workforce during periods ofpeak illness.
And even if the country isn’t facing a pandemic, illness can spread throughindividual offices creating serious localized absenteeism. According to the Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on average 13 percent of the U.S.population gets the flu every year, with active flu seasons seeing closer to 20percent, or more than 62 million Americans. A Walgreens survey estimates thatthe 2010 flu season resulted in 100 million lost works days in the U.S.
How well your company plans its flu response will directly impact productivity andprofits in the face of an outbreak. In this Blue Paper
and podcast we will explorea strategy and tactics on how best to compile a flu preparedness plan for yourbusiness or organization. Read on to learn how and when to act, how to buildawareness and how best to communicate your plan to employees.
1 Reinhardt, Eric. “Is Your Business Prepared For A Flu Pandemic?.” Business Journal (Central New York) 25.2(2011): 7. Regional Business News. Web. 6 Dec. 2011. 2 “Guidance on Preparing Workplaces or an Inuenza Pandemic.” Occupational Saety and Health Administration. 2007. Web. 01 Dec. 2011. <http://www.osha.gov >.3 Walgreens. Americans Miss 100 Million Work Days and Suer Nearly $7 Billion in Lost Wages During FluSeason, New Walgreens Flu Impact Report Suggests. Walgreens. 21 Sept. 2011. Web. 1 Dec. 2011.<http://news.walgreens.com/article_display.cm?article_id=5467 >.