Have you seen people wearing masks during your morning commute the past few days? Fears about the swine flu has caused some people to change their daily habits. I talked to Chris Falkenberg, president of Insite Security, about what the possible pandemic means for the business owner. And yes, walking around in a mask is a complete overreaction.
But, Falkenberg argues, overreaction is not the main problem. Even if the swine flu turns out to another overblown panic, if it inspires your business to develop or improve upon a crisis management plan, then you've put your business in a better position. "If you don't have a crisis management plan, it's time to develop one," says Falkenberg.
Fortunately, crisis plans for more conventional disasters--such as hurricanes or floods--can also provide a modicum of protection in the case of a pandemic, Falkenberg says. So that means that many of the strategies I covered in this article from September about disaster protection would also apply here.
For example, a flood or pandemic might present the problem of employees not being able to come to an actual office. So the key is having a protocol that allows flexibility in those situations--so your business can still get the things done it needs to get done even if the usual flow of work is altered.
Just because the swine flu is a unique occurrence does not mean that preparing for it can't be done in a way that makes your business ready for any number of emergencies.