Should we be worried about the flu this year? Is it being hyped out of proportion, akin to the sensational news coverage of the first major snowfall of the season, which never seems to materialize? Or is the idea of a pandemic flu is so "unreal" in this day and age that workplaces ignore its potential threats?
A great source I found is www.flu.gov. This is the federal government site dealing with questions about the flu. This information on the site is straightforward and practical (wash your hands!) Within the site there is must read article for business owners and executive , Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to the 2009 – 2010 Influenza Season. The article looks to business continuity preparation, as well as best practices a company might want to employ to address absenteeism and productivity during the the flu season.
As an additional preparatory matter, do you you have the capability to allow employees to work from a remote location? If a local school closes, do any parents of younger children have job functions that might allow them to work from home? If so, do you have the technological capabilities allow that to happen? This may be the time to look at investing in infrastructure so your business can continue to be productive even if your employees are not at the office, either because they have to care for family members, or they have been experiencing symptoms themselves and you have made a business determination that sick people need to stay home.
Addendum - After I posted I came across this consumer oriented AP article - same message, while the flu may not be more deadly then others, it is more contageous, so don't panic, but take some practical steps: Swine flu: 10 things you need to know