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ORC: Pandemic Concerns Alter Business Travel Practices

Following a recent survey of its member companies, ORC Worldwide revealed that most companies altered their business travel practices in response to growing concerns over the Influenza A H1N1 virus.

In April 2009, businesses, schools, governments, health organizations and individuals across the globe were focused on the potentially devastating spread of the H1N1 virus, or swine flu. While the virus has thus far proven to be less severe than originally thought, ORC believes there is value in learning from the collective company responses during one of the more critical weeks of the virus’s evolution.

ORC gathered information from 101 companies during a survey conducted April 30 through May 6, 2009. Key findings reveal:

  • Approximately 55 percent of responding companies implemented changes to business travel practices as a result of the recent outbreak, including banning nonessential travel; requiring higher-level approval for travel to certain locations; and restrictions for travel to Mexico.
  • Fifty-five percent of companies also provided communication in the form of a contact number for medical advice while traveling for business. Thirty-nine percent offered briefings or medical advice.
  • Just over one out of every three companies established a mandatory quarantine period; employees were paid for the quarantine period in more than 97 percent of the responding companies.
  • Thirty-four percent of companies supplied business travelers with hand sanitizers, and 23 percent supplied surgical masks.
  • Fewer than one-third of the respondents reported currently engaging in employee screening, with slightly fewer currently engaging in screening visitors or contractors.
  • Eight-four percent of the companies responding reported having some type of business continuity or pandemic preparedness plan to handle global outbreaks of this nature.
  • Nearly 82 percent of companies responding indicated they would be interested in networking with other companies on this issue.

Through surveys such as this one, ORC Worldwide hopes to contribute to advancing the state of preparedness for future events requiring swift yet thoughtful action to ensure business continuity and personal safety.

For more information, please visit ORC Worldwide’s Environmental Health & Safety Center of Excellence.

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