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Homeworking could save your business from Swine Flu (H1N1)

on 25 September 2009


Posted by Wayne Pope

I was talking to a friend the other day who had started getting the dreaded sniffles. Two days into Autumn (or Fall for our cousins across the pond) and already the lurgy is among us.

Unfortunately though, this Autumn there is talk of an absolute wipe out of staff. Millions are expected to get the dreaded swine flu (H1N1). Over the last few weeks, people have started to get a bit blasé about an illness which has struck down many and continues to exist.

Just because the media stopped talking about it, doesn't mean it's disappeared, just that something else more interesting has come along.

Whether swine flu, a cold or regular flu though, it doesn't matter. All businesses are going to suffer at some point. I know of a few which are particularly hit at this time of year and all the way through to Spring.

There is a way you can combat it though, but it does involve a change of attitude amongst employers and employees.

Most of us these days have a mobile phone, a computer at home and an Internet connection. What employers need to do is enable their companies and teams to be able to work remotely.

This means: access to documents, projects, customer details, calendars and announcements - and securely.

It can be done, you just need to find the right solution to suit you.

So how will homeworking and a change in attitude help?

Basically, this friend of mine who was starting to get ill believes that she caught it from her office where someone had got flu (potentially swine flu) and decided to struggle into the office for a couple of days before it got too bad. She then took time off, before coming back too early. Since then, another three people have been off sick with the same symptoms, and no doubt more will follow.

This isn't even taking into account the impact she had around those on public transport.

What you need to do is ensure that if someone is feeling rotten, not to try to encourage them in at all. In fact, encourage them to work from home. Show you trust them but also provide them with the tools to make it possible. You can still chat via Skype (or whatever IM you prefer), see the work they are doing with notifications and announcements and generally not lose as much productivity.

Yes there will be a day or two when they are incapable of working, but ensure that it doesn't get worse for those around.

It needs to be beaten, this year more than ever otherwise we face a seriously poor performing winter period, which none of us can afford.


About this author: Wayne Pope

Technical Director at Glasscubes. With over 30 years experience in the online software industry, Wayne brings an in depth technical expertise in collaborative tools, technology, and best practices.