I wanted to raise an interesting and sensitive topic with you..
I am sending this email to all my clients.
It has arisen due to the fact I was out of action ill (sick, coughing, grumpy, unproductive and not happy) for the past week or so.
It all started a few weeks ago when on both a Monday and a Tuesday people came to workshops coughing and spluttering with ‘I’ve had this for 3 weeks…’ flu/pneumonia/ man cold, whatever you want to call it..
SICKNESS AT WORK PREVENTION POLICY (OR NOT)
Within a week I knew something was going wrong with my body but I ‘soldiered on..’
I’d had my annual flu shot earlier in the year with the goal of preventing the possibility of going down (and inconveniencing clients and self) but…
After a couple of busy weeks that included a flight over East and back and other things, I ended up coughing and spluttering myself.
I ended up at the doctor 3 times in 7 days, 2 courses of antibiotics and had to cancel 2 workshops and about 7 days of productivity and no exercise or fitness work for almost 2 weeks as a result.
Bottom line — I am not very happy about this…and I want to prevent it (or at least minimise the risk of it) happening again.
I wasn’t sure what to do so I asked friends on Facebook what their thoughts were..
CAN FACEBOOK HELP ME HERE?
‘I’m interested.. What should be the policy in a workplace where someone comes in the one day boardroom seminar coughing like they have pneumonia?
‘I’m just getting over the flu they say…’ but in fact they put 15 other people at risk..
Surely it’s an OHS risk..’
This is the conversation that followed:
Wendy Herbert (from Hong Kong): They would never be allowed into the meeting here. Even a mild cough requires a mask.
Following SARS, HK went the Japanese route and spreading germs is seen as VERY impolite and shameful.
Leigh Farnell In the meantime I’ve been out of action now for a week, cancelled two workshops and had 40 people have to change their weeks because of a couple of coughing, inflected martyrs who just had to ‘soldier on’ and come to my trainings. Please… Stay away…
Leigh Farnell Yes, I’m thinking of keeping masks in my seminar suitcase for that purpose Wendy… It’s just madness let alone inconsiderate and costly.
Julie Pianto I think it’s completely irresponsible. For some people (like my son), a simple viral infection could kill him. So even if they give it to me, because I care for him, I then risk passing it on to him. It makes me so mad.
Clifton Warren How about providing pre-workshop information a couple of days before the event on the ground rules?
Leigh Farnell Good thinking. Will do from now on.
Geoff Kirkwood The devil is in the detail – sending out ALL the “ground rules” for any seminar is important. That could be just one of them.
I run a seminar called The Facilitator and the very first thing is for the group to agree on the ground rules. Then it is the group that enforces them, not the person running the seminar.
Greg Clough I’d send them home, no hesitation.
MY STAY AWAY IF YOU’RE SICK REQUEST
Anyway… bottom line:
As Managers of Teams can you please advise people if they are ill, coughing, not well, infectious or down with a bug… please STAY AWAY…
I even heard in a workshop this week where I was getting views on ‘what would be a fair and reasonable policy on this?’ where a manager had actually instructed people who were sick to ‘bloody well get to the workshop I don’t care how sick you are….’
I will gladly do CATCHUP SESSIONS with people once they have recovered rather than put up with/ hope my immune system, can actually fight off people who are ill in the room.
Somewhere in all amongst this is a DUTY OF CARE, SAFE WORKING ENVIRONMENT issue let alone the potential lost time of others beside myself being infected.
That stupid TV commercial ‘Soldier On with Codral..’ has a lot to answer for.
In the meantime I will be buying several surgical masks to keep in my workshop suitcase to give to people who come to workshops with coughs and sniffle and I will give them the option of going home.
I would prefer not to be put in the position of having to offer that option wherever possible.
TOUGHEN UP PRINCESS
I can hear some of you say ‘take a concrete pill and toughen up Princess..’
Yes, if that was an option, I would do it (and in fact do with Vitamins, exercise, sleep etc etc..)
I do my utmost to be 100% fit and on the job with every session and every client.
If you do have people in your teams who are ill in future, can you ask them NOT to come to training sessions and advise that they will take part in a CATCH UP session.
If you have a view or alternative suggestions on this please let me know.
Feel free to email or call me to discuss.