Feature

Workplace

The swine flu blues

Just when things were starting to look up, businesses have suffered another “blow to the nose”—the approach of flu season, said Robert Channick in the Chicago Tribune. With the government projecting that as much as 50 percent of the American population could come down with H1N1, or swine flu, businesses have been stockpiling hand sanitizer and doling out flu shots. The threat of flu could prompt businesses to opt out of conferences, cut back on meetings, and generally do less glad-handing.  

Keeping employees healthy is only half the battle, said V. Dion Haynes in The Washington Post. A bigger concern is how to keep an already bare-bones operation running when half the staff could be out sick. Experts are encouraging employers to come up with H1N1 preparedness plans that include beefing up telecommuting capabilities and “cross-training” employees. Employers should “have conversations with their employees now on their flexibility,” says Elizabeth Lewis, a partner at the law firm Cooley Godward Kronish. That way they’ll be ready to take on “extra duties and extra hours,” in case co-workers call in sick.

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