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Ready or not, H1N1 is here

2 min read


No matter how many warning bells sound or how clear to the average person it is that something serious is about to happen, there are always going to be some people who refuse to buckle down and prepare for the inevitable. So is the case with businesses and the H1N1 flu, according to a recent poll by the Society for Human Resource Management, in which a whopping 36% of human resources professionals said their workplaces did not have an H1N1 emergency plan in place.

While I don’t think there’s any reason to panic about this, I do think it foolish to think this widespread illness is not going to impact you or your business. SHRM seems to agree with me.

“We encourage those without an emergency plan to follow the guidance of government health agencies and to consider the consequences of an H1N1 virus striking your employees and customers,” said Steve Miranda, SHRM’s chief global HR and content integration officer, in a statement announcing the poll results.

Moreover, the poll found that even among those HR professionals whose companies do have a plan, many are underestimating the potential operational impact of an H1N1 epidemic on their business:

  • 33% said it would have “no negative impact.”
  • 64% said it would have a “moderate negative impact.”
  • 3% said it would have a “large negative impact.”

While it’s entirely possible that these people’s businesses will not be hard hit by H1N1, they’re living in a fantasy if they think it won’t be that bad if does hit. Since the flu is highly contagious, it’s possible that an entire department could get sick and be out for a week or more. What if that was the customer service department? Do you think it would only be a “moderate negative impact” if the phones rang off the hook with no one to answer them for a week? I’m fairly certain that scenario would add up to a “large negative impact.”

H1N1 is here, and it can impact you and your business, so it’s time to take some serious steps to mitigate that potential impact. There are plenty of sources online to help you out, including Health Matters at Work’s Seasonal Flu and H1N1 guide.

Go now; get busy!

Image credit, Henrik5000 via iStock