The Wharton School has a great article on the planning to deal with an avian flu pandemic.
"The concern is not simply with people getting sick and staying out of work," says Kobrin. "It has to do with a fairly substantial breakdown in infrastructure. If there is a pandemic, people will be reluctant to leave their homes. That means disruptions in food supplies, supply chains, mass-transit systems and information technology systems if the systems [fail] and IT people aren't there to fix them. The issue is, 'How do you operate in the context of turmoil?' You have to plan for a substantial breakdown in the physical and social infrastructure. The question companies should be thinking about is how to keep their businesses going." Imagine just a few of the effects a pandemic would have on attendance at any number of venues -- high-rise offices; factory floors; airlines, buses and trains; schools; hospitals and doctors' offices -- as people stayed home either because they were already sick or feared becoming ill.
Wharton management professor Peter Cappelli recalls the strictures that were put in place in companies when he was visiting Singapore during the epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, in 2003. Each morning, some companies made employees report their body temperatures -- an indicator of whether they were infected with SARS -- before being allowed into their offices to work. Officials implemented a "buddy system" under which one employee was required to take the temperature of a co-worker to certify that the "buddy" was not lying about his or her thermometer reading.
Read the whole thing here.