Video Report: Swine flu – is your business prepared?

JUST how big a problem could swine flu prove to be for business?

In this video report the director general of the British Chambers of Commerce and other business leaders discuss how serious the threat really is and how companies can prepare for the worst.

Ministers have warned that in a worst case scenario, 100,000 people could contract swine flu every day by the end of August, with one in eight employees forced to take time off work.

Should these projections come to bear, the sheer number of people affected will undoubtedly have an impact on business productivity and the wider economy.

In this video discussion, hosted by the British Chambers of Commerce, director general David Frost is joined by Dr Laurence Buckman, chairman of the British Medical Association’s General Practitioners Committee, and businessman Robert Stead of video conferencing company Polycom, which employs more than 2,500 staff.

They discuss the issues this pandemic throws up for business – from policies towards staff who are off sick, to those with affected family members to implementing home working.

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When TheBusinessDesk asked Mr Frost whether swine flu will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, with many businesses already struggling in the recession, he was optimistic.

He said: “We saw in early July from our own survey work, some signs of optimism starting to come back into the economy. The reason we’re taking a lead on this swine flu is because we think if companies plan for it, if they put procedures in place, it needn’t really become that major an impact within business.

“I think the other thing to say is we are working with the government, we are working with the department for business, Lord Mandelson, particularly on issues to do with finance to ensure that the banks understand the problems that companies are going through, and they adjust their lending policies to help companies who are hit by, who are going through maybe difficult times.”

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