It’s cold and flu season. I know this firsthand because, out of nowhere, I’m sick. Again. For the second time in 2018. I don’t have a fever. I have all the other lovely symptoms that come with a cold. A dry cough, congestion, and lots of sneezing. Not that anybody asked, but I’m not happy about it.
Working in human resources taught me one truth in life: Most of you are too stupid and selfish to get the flu shot. That’s why I wash my hands about fifty times a day to decrease the spread of germs. My skin is bright red and dry, and I don’t use lotion because those pumps are bottles are a festering swamp of germs.
I learned another thing in HR: Karma is real. When I’m at the airport, I cover my mouth when I cough and sneeze. When someone else is sick, I’ll offer my tissues and hand sanitizer. I’ve even been asked to watch children and luggage while solo parents run to the bathroom. I’m banking points to avoid future catastrophes in life.
But the cold and flu season doesn’t care if I’m a decent citizen, and it doesn’t care that I’m two weeks away from Hustle Up the Hancock. Goals? Dreams? Breaking your personal record for climbing 94 flights of stairs? Forget about it. Take some Sudafed and go back to bed.
Since you work in HR, I’m asking you to intervene in the name of a global pandemic and double-down on good hygiene practices. Make sure those hand-washing messages are on a loop in the office. Pitch the community snacks in the break room that require everybody to stick their hand in the Costco-sized bucket of carbs.
And use your power of influence to reward and compensate hourly workers who stay home and don’t expose people to germs. Consider being compassionate and encouraging caregivers to take the time they need to care for their sick loved ones. Give people the benefit of the doubt when they call in sick even if they’ve abused the policy in the past.
This is easier said than done, but the cold and flu season is killing people across America. As much as we want to automate work and cut the labor costs from our budget, we’re still in the position of needing a healthy labor pool to reach revenue and profitability goals.
So, if people make the difference in your company, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is. Just make sure you wash your hands after touching that cash and wear a facemask when you’re out in public. It’s gross out there.