It is said that there is no substitute for thorough planning. Military campaigns, political campaigns and even important social events are more successful for the planning. Maybe you were at that wedding where the flowers didn’t show up until the organ was playing?
A headline online caught my attention today. The key word was “FLU,” so we all can relate, right? Everyone knows someone who has had the flu recently, or has read about flu shots that didn’t address a certain strain. The word flu evokes a response indeed. But the story I saw –http://money.cnn.com/2013/01/11/smallbusiness/flu-cost/index.html?iid=HP_MPM – dealt directly with the impacts of an outbreak of flu on a small business. It could be any small business. It could be any illness, emergency or disaster.
Instantly I began asking myself questions about how much a business relies on one employee, or on all employees, to meet customers’ needs. In some cases there is no concern about contamination and contact with an ill employee, but in other cases the employee who is trying to help by showing up even when they are sick may be doing more harm than good.
Do you have a plan for maintaining a healthy workplace? Does the staff or janitorial contractor regularly clean effectively enough to disinfect common spaces, fixtures, restrooms, employee work areas or customer waiting areas? Do you have contingency plans with contractors, vendors or others to help cover needs should you face the illness of a key employee or group of employees? Do you have a policy that addresses when you may close or postpone meetings or calls with clients?
I wish I had answers to these questions. Like most of you, some of these items are still on my to-do list. But the impact to a small business can be dramatic – and somewhere it is creating a real opportunity I suspect. So have a good weekend, stay healthy, and make a note to ask yourself what you would do if half your employees can’t come in to work Monday.