February 26, 2010
By Chris Winters
Flu season is upon us and this year in particular, with the
spread of H1N1 (aka “snoutbreak”) and other potentially virulent pandemics, it
is important that businesses be vigilant in protecting themselves from disease
that will affect employee productivity, and consequently, revenues,
profitability and the overall future of a doomed human race.
But it is also important to not foster an environment of
panic about illness. What with underwear bombs, global warming, flash
earthquakes and Simon leaving American Idol,
we have enough to panic about. Mild alarm will suffice.
To that end, here are a few simple guidelines that can be
implemented to ensure that your workforce will be protected from the effects of
flu season. We strongly advise adopting these measures, because it’s highly
likely that you, your employees, their families and everyone they have ever
kissed, shaken hands with, spoken to, or friended on Facebook are already
Wash your hands. It
has long been known that physical contact is the most efficient way to spread
disease, and that our hands are the primary vehicles for transmission. The
importance of frequent washing cannot be overemphasized. Wash hands thoroughly
before and after using the bathroom, eating, handling or touching the floor,
doorknobs, walls or ceiling, touching or otherwise interacting with other
people, animals or inanimate objects, operating heavy machinery, sleeping,
working or washing your hands. Use warm water, disinfecting soap and a weak
solution of sulfuric acid, then dry thoroughly with coarse-grained sandpaper.
If possible, place hands in autoclave before using.
Allow sick workers to stay home. No one benefits when ill employees come to work and
spread their germs to the other workers on staff. If employees are sick, they
should remain at home and not have to worry about losing their jobs. The best
way to alleviate this worry is, when employees begin showing early symptoms of
flu such as coughing or sneezing, terminate them immediately. Waiting for
full-blown H1N1 only heightens ambiguity, and no one wants that.
Communicate with local health officials. Your local and state health officials often have
established policies and practices to deal with a wide variety of medical
emergencies. These agencies should be kept abreast of the latest changes in
your employees’ health with dynamic, real-time communications techniques, such
as calling 911 whenever an employee’s heart rate changes. Emergency responders
are there to help you with evacuation plans, crowd control, tactical air
strikes and removing oxygen from affected areas.
Develop a plan to preserve essential business functions. Losing large numbers of staff to illness has a
detrimental effect on minion productivity, but developments in technology can
help mitigate damage and preserve mission-critical functions. Online work
allows employees to access e-mail and servers from remote locations, quarantine
camps or inside the “hot zone.” Locate backup servers in nearby zones of
negative entropy that cause all encroaching life-forms to violently lose their
molecular integrity. Enacting static barriers and active-denial security
measures has been shown to keep out the infected. Forewarned is forearmed, and
nothing says “armed” better than razor wire, a 12-gauge and a German shepherd.
Communicate your plan clearly to employees. Making sure that everyone understands the plan
thoroughly is the key to successful implementation, but miscommunicating the
plan and spreading incorrect information, panic or paper-borne viruses is
counterproductive. For best results, use semaphore at a minimum distance of two
miles. Then shoot the messenger, just to be safe. You never know.
With these guidelines, you can rest assured that, no matter
what catastrophe looms-or shambles toward you out of the bio-lab-your business