With the news dominated by swine flu stories and images of terrified individuals in face masks, now may be a good time to ask, “How prepared is our firm to handle a healthcare emergency?”
Any healthcare crisis could wreak havoc on a company through mass absenteeism — costing a fortune in lost work time and productivity, not to mention associated healthcare costs. In these cases, employees can be absent for a variety of reasons: They can get sick themselves, be forced to stay home with their children who’ve gotten sick or whose schools have been shut down to halt the spread of a disease, etc.
All firms should have some type of disaster-management plan in place. In addition to offering flu shots, urging staffers to get the proper amount of sleep and reminding them to thoroughly wash their hands, experts offer the following tactics to safeguard your firm against a healthcare crisis:
- Take your plan for the test run. Just having a disaster-management plan in place isn’t enough. In order to ensure that it’ll work, it needs to be tested.
Example: If you have a system in place where staffers can telecommute in case of an emergency, make sure all equipment is working properly and there are no problems.
- Educate staffers. This includes everything from teaching basic first aid, to informing employees about illnesses and pathogens, to illustrating proper hand-washing techniques.
- Annual updates. Once you have a disaster-management plan in place, make sure your HR or Benefits team updates the plan at least once a year.