When the influenza A (H1N1) virus appeared in Mexico in April of 2009, it caused 59 deaths in Mexico City alone. From there, the virus spread around the globe and within months the World Health Organization (WHO), governments and other health officials were clearly concerned the local epidemic could transform into a global problem. 

Are you ready for flu season?

  • Make hand sanitizer readily available across the organization
  • Frequently disinfect common areas in the workplace
  • Educate employees on flu prevention measures
  • Monitor the H1N1 virus situation by following the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, WHO and other health organizations
  • Develop an employee communication strategy related to the H1N1 virus
  • Inform employees not to come to work if they have flu- and cold-like symptoms
  • Send employees home who come to work with flu- and cold-like symptoms
  • Set up telecommuting options for employees if there is an H1N1 virus outbreak in their local area/region
Secure anti-viral flu medication (e.g., Tamiflu) for employees and work with health care providers to ensure adequate medication supplies for employees.

While preventative measures can greatly reduce the risk of illness to your workforce, it is important to also have a disaster preparedness and business continuity plan in place in the event of another influenza pandemic. The following guidelines were developed by government and business experts to help you make careful and coordinated plans in the event of a pandemic.
  • Identify a pandemic coordinator or team with defined roles and responsibilities for preparedness and response planning. Review emergency preparedness plans with your senior staff and touch base frequently to ensure everyone remains up to date.
  • Plan for how critical functions will be performed from other locations in the event of widespread absenteeism or if work sites must be temporarily closed. Review disability, health care and leave policies.
  • Engage your EAP or Health & Wellness partner. Distribute educational materials regarding flu preparedness to your employees. By involving employees in proactive steps to prepare for a pandemic, they may feel less anxious and more in control. Schedule immunization clinics for your workforce through your EAP or Wellness partner. Reinforce the message that employees should stay home when they are sick.
  • Stay informed. Consult the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services site, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site, and the World Health Organization site.

Viruses will circulate through your organization, but with a proactive, preventative approach, you can help employees stay healthy and productive.