Being Prepared for H1N1

Columbus Chamber
The Columbus Chamber provides connections, resources and solutions that help small businesses and Fortune 500 enterprises grow Central Ohio's economy.

We have partnered with Columbus Public Health and the Franklin County Board of Health, to provide information to the business community.

A recent Harvard study said that businesses are not prepared to handle a major outbreak of illness, such as H1N1. In this study businesses said that if a majority of their workforce had to be away from the workplace, they could not sustain business operations.

I have also heard a prediction that at least 70 percent of us will personally be affected by this illness. Not that we’ll all have H1N1 but that we’ll need to care for a family member, cover for a colleague who is not at work, or change our travel or meeting plans.

Think about how this will affect your business operations.

As a business community, we need to be prepared. There are numerous steps you can take including:

  • Consider telecommuting options for those who have been exposed or who are caring for a sick family member.
  • Offer flexible leave policies so those who are ill will stay home – to protect the rest of your employees and customers.
  • Cross train employees now to make sure you have the capacity to sustain vital operations.
  • Educate your workforce on steps they can take to stay healthy such as washing hands and obtaining flu vaccinations.
  • If you rely heavily on outsourcing, check with your vendors to insure they have a plan.

You need to take the steps that work for your business. But remember that the plans you implement in your business affect the health and wellness of our community as a whole.  We want your business to be sustainable and our community to be healthy – economically and physically.

This year’s economy has presented a challenge for many businesses. We know that you are resilient and that you will persevere. Thank you for taking the time to discuss and plan for what could be a business-changing situation.