When I ask my clients what disruptive events they think might affect them, I often hear fire, flood and more often than not they think of the impacts of a plane falling from the sky as a worst case scenario.
What about pandemics?
A pandemic is different to an epidemic, so for those who are not sure what the difference is of the two, an epidemic is classed as a spread of disease (like flu) that just spreads through a particular area, so that could be a hospital ward, office or even a town.
A pandemic is where the disease is spread globally. You might remember the H1N1 strain of flu from 2009? This was classed as a pandemic because it spread so far and killed so many thousands of people. In fact, the UK National Risk Register estimates that the next severe pandemic will occur within the next five years.
When an epidemic or even a pandemic causes so much disruption, business owners have a duty of care towards the health of their employees.
So what can you do, as an employer?
1. Kindly remind staff and visitors about the NHS’ campaign from 2007 ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’. Free posters can be found online here and put up in areas such as lifts, kitchens and toilets.
2. Carry out regular cleaning and maintenance of your high footfall areas, taking greater care of common areas where many people transfer germs through touch – lift buttons, hand rails and door handles.
3. Carry out cleaning of the equipment your staff use. A computer keyboard isn’t something you think of as being full of germs, but industry experts have revealed your office keyboard has 400 times more germs than the average toilet seat. Yuk!
4. Have a sick leave policy that encourages staff to stay at home if they have flu symptoms and not to penalise them for taking time off.
5. Use anti-bacterial soap and sanitsers and ensure you have enough. Stockpiling is totally up to you, but if you do, make sure that you are aware of expiry dates and regularly rotate stock.
You won’t be able to stop a global pandemic single-handedly, but you will be able to do your bit to reduce the impact on your business and keep your staff safe and healthy.
For more information on keeping your staff safe, healthy and to prepare for this and other impacts to your business go to The Improvement Group or email firstname.lastname@example.org