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Stick to the basics – in health and business

When news first broke of the H1N1 virus, stories included images of people wearing respiratory masks in crowded public places. Residents of big cities rushed to get supplies, only to discover empty shelves.

Before people began to panic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) delivered a simple message – stick to the basics to stay healthy:

  • 13098873-848x566_handwashingSneeze and cough into your sleeve, or use a tissue.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners also are effective.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.

  • Stay home if you’re sick and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

This isn’t complicated, just easy health precautions to follow every day. Sometimes it takes a worldwide health alert to remind us that the teachers were right when they drilled home the common sense personal hygiene techniques we learned in kindergarten.

This same thing can happen at the office. We get busy – or admit it, we’re swamped – and then suddenly there’s an issue… or a crisis… because someone forgot to follow the basic principles that keep the company going.

My advice: Remember to always follow the standard operating procedures. Whether you’re hiring a new employee or launching an amazing product, stick to the process in place. We’ve all read stories about companies that didn’t run their “standard” background check and then had to deal with inappropriate or criminal behavior on the clock. 

Ensure employees are aware of your company’s policies and procedures by including the information in their initial orientation and making it part of an annual review process. Discuss your guidelines with vendors and partners so everyone knows what’s acceptable and the extent of your boundaries.

And just like washing your hands or covering when you cough, these basic steps can protect your company’s health and future.

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