Posted: Tuesday, 11 August 2009 @ 18:42
It is estimated that the first serious wave of Swine Flu will hit the UK between August and November this year with the cities being affected more than the countryside. This means that approximately 12% of the workforce nationally is likely to catch it during this period.
The impact on SMEs is likely to be particularly severe. The problem is that it spreads easily from person to person, which is likely to mean that, once it takes hold in a particular workplace, far more than the 12% average could be off work and at the same time. Also, those who work for SMEs are more likely to be key employees whose work would be difficult to give to someone else.
The best advice is therefore geared towards slowing the spread of Swine Flu in your workplace and planning now for the transfer of work to others should the worst happen.
If you can, you should consider whether you can arrange for employees to work from home if it hits you. The internet makes this a real possibility for many firms, especially with services like video-conferencing becoming mainstream. If you don’t have such facilities in place, or need to learn how to use them, then this is the time to do so. These actions could slow down the spread of Swine Flu quite considerably and could make the difference between a few employees being off work at any one time to the majority of the workforce.
You should plan for the worst now. Who could take on work that is being done by others? Will you need to train them? Will it be obvious what has been done by a particular employee so someone else can continue with the work if they were suddenly taken ill? If not, you should set up a system whereby someone new can easily discover what stage a particular job is at and continue with it.
SMEs certainly cannot avoid Swine Flu but, if some planning is done now, it could certainly minimise its affects on your business.
Blog by Gary Cousins
Gary has been providing legal advice to shareholders, directors and business owners for over 25 years. Specialising in dispute resolution Gary is based in Birmingham with clients throughout the UK and overseas. View profile
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