Should the swine flu virus spread and employees heed the advice of public health experts and stay home, employers could expect to see absenteeism jump to 50% or more. Mind you that not all these employees will be sick but fear and childcare/eldercare issues will force many employees to be missing in action.
One solution for many organizations is telework. Telework is a tool for emergency planning at all levels – from snowstorms that close offices in a region for a day or two, to pandemic influenza that may affect operations over the course of weeks or even months.
The Life meets Work Blog today posted an excellent story about telework.
Flu outbreaks don’t have to be disabling if companies are set up to telework. The federal government has long incorporated teleworking in its business continuity plans:
“By helping support a distributed workforce, telework is a tool for emergency planning at all levels – from snowstorms that close offices in a region for a day or two, to pandemic influenza that may affect operations over the course of weeks or even months.” (Source: telework.gov)
Even in the face of a global flu pandemic, business CAN continue if your employees are equipped to log-in remotely. To be successful, your company should have a telework program with as many staffers as possible equipped to work from home. The best way to test your system is to use it as a routine course of business, to ensure all tools are operational.
You can get more tips to prepare your business for a flu pandemic from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management at telework.gov.