How can you tell if one of your employees has contracted swine flu? They come out in rashers. Yes, it’s no joking matter, but just how seriously do employers need to take this issue as a threat to their business, asks Chris Taylor?
With swine flu cases in Australia confirmed at 167 around midday today (Friday 29 May) and the prospect of a considerable escalation over the weekend, all employers need to consider how they will respond as the situation changes.
The problem for employers is getting the balance right to protect both the health of their workforces and the health of their businesses.
An attitude of complacency, where potentially sick employees are encouraged to turn up to the office and soldier on – so called mucous troopers – would have rapidly disastrous results in the event of an office-borne outbreak of the virus.
Equally an attitude of near paranoia, where every employee overheard clearing their throat is frogmarched out of the building or locked in a storeroom for a week, could have equally disastrous effects on businesses already running lean in testing economic times.
With so much misinformation and conflicting opinion on how to approach this influenza outbreak, where are employers turning to for reliable information?
And, with internal communication vital for managing such a rapidly developing issue, what are you telling your employees?