Business Pandemic Planning

Imagine tomorrow morning you discover that 40% of your staff is out sick and the missing people are in clusters wiping out entire critical functions within your business for the NEXT 10 DAYS! How would you make sure that your business survives this very real situation? What would you do and who would you do it with? A well written policy can help your business survive.

In drafting that policy, it’s important to keep in mind guidance just issued by the EEOC. That’s right – as you develop your policy you have to keep in mind the ADA and other employment regulations.

The Society for Human Resource Management offers a number of practical tips to keep your business on track during this swine flu pandemic:

  • Don’t discriminate against people who might have H1N1 flu or have been exposed to the virus.
  • Know your company’s leave policies so that you can explain them to your employees. Apply them consistently to all of your employees.
  • Identify critical functions and the skills needed to complete them.
  • Inventory your employees’ skills. Who has the skills to complete critical functions?
  • Cross-train workers so more employees can complete more critical functions.
  • Identify which workers can serve as substitutes for others.
  • Keep an eye on absentee rates. If they appear to be rising, get ready to move your employees into their cross-trained roles. If any of those roles require certification or other preparation, make sure the cross-trained employees are up-to-date before moving into their new roles.
  • Consider virtual meetings instead of face-to-face gatherings. Try to limit contact among employees to halt the spread of the virus.
  • If possible, allow employees to work staggered shifts to reduce the number of people in the workplace. Allowing workers to commute outside of rush hour can also help reduce contact with potentially ill people on mass transit.
  • Find out if you are authorized to make decisions about activating emergency plans.

If you have questions about your planning strategy and compliance YPP’s HR professionals are available to assist.

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