Pandemic Flu, Norovirus or Common Colds: The season is here

It’s that time of year again when many bugs and viruses raise their ugly heads taking employees out one by one. Most of the time this causes little disruption to general business productivity as, generally speaking, people within the same office tend not to be off sick at the same time.

But there is always the exception.

The norovirus is a particularly fast spreading illness which can take out a number of people in one go for over a week. I recall one year when this occured to a business I know well, where 80% of the executive board members were off sick at the same time, and the cause of these absences was not the virus in my opinion but the lack of response and sensible behaviour of the team. As soon as one of their members became ill it would have made sense for them to be isolated at home, rather than ‘putting on a brave face’ and attending a board meeting in a closed room for several hours. The result? Everyone in the room contracted the virus at the same time and were off sick simultaneously.

We tend to think that when we are healthy we will not get whatever is being passed around the office. But we all know that prevention is better than cure and that being just a little bit cautious can save a lot of time in lost productivity and ultimately revenue or customer dissatisfaction.

In our office if such an illness were to surface we could all easily work from home. Technology is designed to enable people and if it is not used to its full advantage then we are simply at the mercy of nature, be that pandemic flu, norovirus or more devastating events such as flooding or fire.

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