An Ounce of Preparation
There is an old saying that "an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure." Preparing beforehand is easier than trying to fix things or get better once everything has fallen apart.
If you've been following the news (and let's be realistic, even if you try to avoid the news as much as possible like I do, you can't avoid what's been going on with the Covid-19 coronavirus around the world), then you know we're in the early stages (depending on where you are) of an outbreak that is likely to spread rapidly around the world. In all likelihood, there is no stopping it. There is only minimizing the damage and containing it.
Given the countries where it has been most severe, namely China, the information we have is incomplete at best. So the severity could be much worse. Or not. It's hard to say whether the cases of infections have been underreported (likely) along with the mortality rates. Many epidemiologists believe it may be 10 times as many people who have been infected in China as are being reported. And with additional countries now following suit, such as Japan, Korea, Italy and Iran, it's not surprising that this is quickly becoming a global pandemic. A good article here with more information.
But we're not necessarily here to talk about doom and gloom. This is more about preparation. Because we can't necessarily stop the spread of this virus. But we can prepare for it. And we can slow it down. And ensure that we don't overwhelm our local healthcare systems by doing our part. And ultimately we can save lives.
Prepare Your Home
Start by getting yourself ready. That means stocking up on supplies such as food, water and medication. If you or your area gets hit by this virus, you may need to stay put for several weeks, so you may need several weeks of food so you don't have to head to the grocery store. Stocking up on things you eat regularly is a good practice, so you'll be going through them anyway. And ensuring you have an adequate supply of medications you take will also be critical, if only to keep you away from the pharmacy while others are there.
Prepare Your Office
If you feel sick, stay home! If you manage people, it's time to get a plan in place for remote work. I wrote about remote work a few weeks ago, and how we should all prepare now for the future of remote work. Well, that future is now. It's time to embrace remote work and get people ready to stay home. The fewer people we have getting sick and passing around this new virus, the faster we can get rid of it for good.
While it would have been good to prep your culture for remote work months ago, there is no time like the present. And there is no better excuse to get everyone mobilized.
Prepare Your Family/Community
If you know of anyone in your family or community that is especially vulnerable, like the elderly or those with respiratory issues, now is the time to prepare a plan of action. Whether it is how you can help or how they can get help if they need, it is good to have those conversations and plan ahead. Much better than scrambling when shit hits the fan.
Like I said at the beginning, an ounce of planning is worth a pound of cure. If you are a manager, it's time to put in place plans for remote work. If you are an employee, it's time to ask your managers about your company's plans for remote work. It's much better to have the conversations now and get plans made before things go sideways.
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