No matter where you are and what industry you work in, you probably have been affected in some way by the H1N1 virus and all the personal and business disruptions that have occurred. We’re beginning to see reports that we’ve seen the worst of the virus and that we’re on the upswing out of its grasp. Other experts are reporting that we are nowhere near to being at the end of this and that a third wave will hit this winter. With such uncertainty, many risk managers are erring on the side of caution.
There has also been some debate surrounding the effect swine flu will have on the economy. There are some indications that the virus has had little effect on the US economy. Government simulations have shown its impact as ‘reasonable and manageable’. However, it is anticipated that there could be between a 1 and 4.25-percent decrease in the country’s GDP.
This GDP change may come from:
- Product disruption due to absenteeism
- Changes in purchasing patterns: avoidance of larger commercial centres
- Border closings, quarantining, trade and travel restrictions to help slow the spread
- Failures in just-in-time manufacturing: Restrictions and disruptions may make such manufacturing difficult to achieve and maintain
The best thing to do is not to hold any expectations of what the coming months will hold. ‘Clean, contain and cover’ continues to be the best defense outside of vaccination. Consider the speed with which H1N1 has spread globally, and how quickly another wave could be upon us.
H1N1 Business Planning for the Coming Months
While most companies anticipate the virus’ impact, they are not largely seen to be prepared for its impact.
It is important to develop flexible rules for each workplace to allow employees the time they need while sick of while tending to a sick child or family member. Allowing employees this time away from the workplace also helps to limit the spread so that less of your workforce is absent due to sickness.
While we prepare for changes internal to our organizations, it is also important to remember what impact the virus is having on the larger population – your business may be affected by changes in behavior or spending habits, or by disruptions felt within other organizations.
Use ClearRisk’s pandemic preparedness tools to better understand pandemic preparedness planning and to access checklists and assessment guides for your organization.