The H1N1 virus – a.k.a. The swine flu – seemingly lost some significance over the weekend. After a week of hysteria, officials are now saying that the impending pandemic is not as bad as they first believed. That is welcome news and we can all breathe a sigh of relief.
However, the scare isn't quite over. The flu of 1918 started in the Spring of that year, but there was a lull over the summer before reaching pandemic proportions during the flu season the following winter. Millions eventually died.
Business can take away some lessons from the H1N1 incident to include in their continuity plans:
Include pandemics as part of your disaster planning
The lesson here isn't that officials got it wrong. Instead, it is a wake-up call. Planning and preparations for a pandemic or other disaster are an absolute must. It is not a question of if, but when.
Plan for the impact on your business
Consider which staff members are critical to operations during an outbreak. Plan for scenarios in which demand for your products or services might increase or decrease dramatically. How will business travel be affected?
Plan for the impact on employees and customers
Employees and customers may fall ill or have contagious family members. How will this affect your business? Policies should be established to address potential issues -- including employee contact, shared workspace, meetings, etc. – with the intention of reducing the likelihood of spreading a virus.
Communicate and educate employees
As the leader of a business, it will behoove you to inform staff on a pandemic. Find credible and reliable sources of information to keep abreast of the developments so you can help employees understand the realities. Otherwise, the rumor mill will do it for you with unpredictable consequences.
Disseminate the preparedness and response plan
A disaster plan is no good unless people know about it. The plan should be shared so they know what is can be expected from the organization during an event and also what is expected of them.
With a little planning, a pandemic's impact on your business can be reduced. It is not hard to do, but it does require a little forethought.
Disaster Preparedness Consulting, LLC
Stacey Dash, American Hero
5 years ago