Whether in the workplace, school or at home, seasonal viruses can have an especially big impact on one's productivity. When the flu comes around, staying at home or in bed is an effective preventative measure, both to avoid spreading germs to others, and to maximise rest time to ensure a speedy recovery. Run a quick review of these questions when you or those around you have the flu:
1. Is working remotely an option?
You’re down with the flu but an urgent assignment is due the same day - consider requesting for a day off to work from home so as to minimise contact with your colleagues. To facilitate this, make sure that all essential project documents are saved and well-organised in a file storage which is easily accessible from anywhere (whether it’s through a cloud solution or a remotely-accessible server). This will save time and ensure smooth coordination with your team.
File storage and webmail are the basics, but to ensure completely smooth continuity, make sure you also have access to billing, payroll, or anything else you might need on a weekly basis – recovery might take longer than expected. Ideally, everyone should also have portable devices (laptops and mobile phones) to work off.
Once per quarter, businesses should also have a “work from home” day. Just like a fire drill, it’ll make sure everyone already has the reflexes they need when the time comes. Prepare documentation and user guides, formalise working processes, and use the issues that come up during these drill days to make sure your documentation is up to scratch.
2. Can you communicate virtually?
In instances where you are required to be physically present (take for example, a big interview or a presentation with a client), find out if there are any video and audio functions that can replace your face-to-face meeting instead.
For internal coordination with your employees or colleagues, you’re likely to need something parallel to email – be it a basic chat software or company platform. Make sure everyone already has this installed on any computer they’re likely to be using (installation problems are an extra hassle if you’re already not feeling well). If you are not already doing so, encourage people to use it even when they’re in the office so that they can get used to it.
3. Are you in close contact with any coughers and sneezers?
Keeping in close contact with an infected person can allow the flu to be spread directly through droplets in the air whenever they cough, sneeze or even, speak. We must also be aware that the flu can be spread indirectly – if we touch an infected surface (such as door knobs or telephones) and then touch our own nose or mouth. That’s why it is important to use a serving spoon when sharing a meal with someone who is sick.
Lastly, in the event that you do get ill, don’t forget that focusing on healing today will pay off in the coming weeks. If your illness is likely to affect your business in the long-term, contact your bank or insurance advisor for counsel. Find out what your options are so that you make informed decisions moving forward.