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Playing Dr. Mom to thwart the flu

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Your office may have escaped a massive outbreak of swine flu, but odds are there’s still the lurking threat of seasonal flu. In response to this winter’s vicious flu outbreak, more and more companies are teaching hygiene and distributing “wellness kits” with thermometers and face masks.

One admin, Lissette, wrote on our Admin Pro Forum that all employees at her company are required to attend an hour-long presentation about pandemic preparedness.

“Reminders have been going out via e-mail often, explaining proper hygiene practices,” she writes. The company also provides free flu shots to all of its employees. A few ways to keep the flu at bay:

Keep wipes, sanitizer and tissues handy. Another admin, who works in a medical clinic, says that other companies can learn from the practices used by hospitals: “We have hand sanitizer everywhere you turn. We also have very large signs displayed at the entrances warning about the flu and about taking precautions. You can do the same anywhere.”

Call in the cleaning brigade, once an employee has fallen victim to the flu, suggests admin pro Mark: “When someone goes home sick or calls in sick, a small army of people (it seems) attacks that person’s work area with disinfectant wipes and sprays.”

Clean more aggressively as a preventive measure. Admin Kris says, “Our building manager comes through twice a day and wipes down all door handles and light switches. There are also containers of small sanitizers in our kitchen and at the front desk.”

Hold fewer in-person meetings and discourage handshakes, when employees have sick family members at home. And to prepare for worst-case scenarios, find out what the IT department can do for remote workers.

Kris says, “Our IT department has made sure that everyone has remote access, so they can work from home if need be. We also have a system that if we have to close our offices, the switchboard can be transferred.”

And, of course, tell workers to stay home if they are ill, generally until a day after their fever breaks.

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