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Many Companies Preparing on Global Scale for A(H1N1) 'Swine Flu' Pandemic, According to Global Survey by Councils of The Conference Board
Date:5/19/2009

NEW YORK, May 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Many global companies have activated a pandemic response plan to the threat of an A(H1N1) "swine flu" pandemic, according to a survey released today by The Conference Board.

The survey of 121 members of 44 Councils of The Conference Board was taken during the week of May 4. Councils are small, intimate, cross-industry networking peer groups that bring together executives in a specific function to share information and best practices.

Of those surveyed, more than half (55 percent) have a pandemic response plan and have activated it in response to the current A(H1N1) outbreak.

In addition, the majority (66 percent) of companies are responding at a global, enterprise level, rather than locally. Thirty-one percent of survey participants are responding at a national level, only in affected countries where their company is currently operating.

"Our research from The Conference Board Councils shows that while there are some differences in corporate responses to the danger of an influenza pandemic, most companies are in agreement that they should be prepared for the worst and ready for a major threat to their global operations," says Carolyn Cavicchio, Senior Research Associate, Global Corporate Citizenship, at The Conference Board.

Although most companies are having discussions with all levels of government, one-third of those surveyed have not engaged with government at all.

EMPLOYEE COMMUNICATIONS IS CRITICAL

Almost all companies are taking special steps to communicate more frequently and in more detail about a possible flu pandemic with employees, and 87 percent are using new media (such as websites and blogs) to accomplish this. Eighty-one percent of those surveyed have actively encouraged employees who do not feel well to stay home so they don't infect co-workers. Most companies have policies like this that can be helpful in managing through the current outbreak. An overwhelming 93 percent of survey participants will allow employees to work off-site (from home or a satellite facility) during a pandemic health emergency.

Half of respondents report that their companies are restricting business travel, particularly to Mexico. However, half of respondents have not put restrictions into their travel policies.

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE BOARD

The Conference Board is a global, independent business-membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world's leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance AND better serve society. The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States.

www.conference-board.org

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE BOARD COUNCIL PROGRAM

For 80 years, The Conference Board has organized small, intimate, cross-industry networking peer groups that bring together executives in a specific function to share information and best practices. These highly interactive members-only networks facilitate ongoing interaction, communication and benchmarking among leaders from the world's top companies. Each group is a unique member-driven forum enhanced by the vast resources of The Conference Board, including its research, economics, conferences, working groups, webcasts and special events. Periodic face-to-face meetings help to foster the strong personal relationships that make Council participation such a powerful ongoing resource for today's busy executives who need a source of immediate trusted feedback.

Council participation is available exclusively to member companies of The Conference Board.


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SOURCE The Conference Board
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