Amid heightened concern over severe acute respiratory syndrome, which has killed at least 79 people, companies are taking
steps to protect workers from the respiratory disease, Bloomberg News reports.
Among other things, companies are limiting travel to Asia, recommending workers wear masks while
in the region, asking employees to stay away from the office following a trip
to Asia, and improving office cleaning.
American International Group Inc will limit travel and reminded its 80,000
employees to wash their hands before touching their face, and to avoid handles,
doorknobs or railings in "high-risk areas," according to the news
Goldman Sachs requires employees to receive departmental or divisional approval
before travel to Asia. Other companies have banned all nonessential travel.
HSBC Holdings PLC and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc have prohibited nonessential
travel, urging workers to use videoconferencing technology instead. Microsoft
is allowing workers in the region to work from home, Bloomberg News reports.
"There's just a lot of reasons why it's not a good idea to travel right
now," says Ted Cullen, who oversees travel for Nike Inc.
Some companies already had travel restrictions in place because of the war with Iraq.
New Balance tells the news service that it has banned all international travel
because of the war and SARS.
Other companies are telling workers who travel to the region to work from home
upon return to the United States. Bloomberg News notes Deutsche Bank AG's
office in New York sent a memo to employees that said staff members who travel
to China and Hong Kong should not go to "any Deutsche Bank office for 10
days following their return."