With the total number of U.S. cases of H1N1, or swine flu, reaching 150, many corporations and organizations are instituting policies to protect their employees.
Companies Ban Employee Travel
The National Business Travel Association (NBTA) encourages companies to continue to make informed and measured business decisions regarding traveling during the spread of swine flu. “It’s important that companies and individuals continue to receive straight-forward, scientifically-based information from public officials so they can make informed decisions.,” said NBTA President and CEO Kevin Maguire in a statement.
Cynthia McKay, CEO of Le Gourmet Gift Basket based in Parker, Colorado, oversees 510 domestic and international franchise. In an interview, she said ahe placed a ban on all employee travel – including her own – when Colorado experienced its first case of the swine flu. “All of my employees and myself are currently banned from travel,” she said. “With two cases of swine flu discovered in Colorado, we have decided that all travel will be canceled until further notice.
“I personally fly over 80,000 miles a year, as do my trainers and sales people. It is my feeling that rescheduling a few trips outweigh the possibility that we may be subjected to the flu and, therefore, lose days or weeks from work.”
Emergency Preparedness Plans in Place
In addition to employee travel restrictions, many companies are launching their own emergency preparedness plans, including special phone numbers for updated flu information and employee Web sites with preparedness information.
Le Gourmet Gift Basket requires that any employee showing any symptoms must stay home. In addition, additional soaps, masks and disinfectants have been placed in offices, by phones and in other public areas.
American Specialty Health, a national wellness company that employs more than 700 people in San Diego, CA, said in an interview that it has convened its Pandemic Committee and is implementing stringent precautions. These include:
- distributing employee alerts and posters regarding swine flu symptoms and preventive measures temporarily postponing employee group events and meetings, especially those including food handling and outside visitors;
- requiring doctor’s notes of good health from anyone who has recently visited Mexico; requesting that employees who develop or are experiencing flu-like symptoms stay home or work from home;
- and requiring doctor’s notes of good health from anyone who has experienced or is experiencing flu-like symptoms, or has been in contact with individuals experiencing symptoms.
In addition, American Specialty Health has also put together a travel kit for business travelers, which includes a mask, hand sanitizer and flu tips. Masks and travel tips have also been distributed to employees using public transportation or who wish to wear them at the office or outside of the office.
Web Seminars Replace In Person Group Meetings ·
Instead of in-person meetings, which present another opportunity for germs to spread in an enclosed space, many corporations are going virtual. American Specialty Health has converted essential group meetings that include outside visitors to webinars and temporarily closing the building to outside visitors and restricting business visitors
Companies are taking action to help prevent the spread of H1N1, or swine flu, including reducing or eliminating travel, keeping sick employees home, and turning to web seminars for meetings.…