Every year Milan finds itself at the epicenter of couture. Prada, Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana and the world’s fashion stars dazzle attendees under the dancing flashes of a hundred Nikon strobe lights. Packed shoulder-to-shoulder for hours on end, guests at Fashion Week share smiles, laughter … and germs.
This year, those germs may have included Coronavirus aka. Covid-19
Shortly after Armani’s vacant runway event, stressed-out attendees boarded their planes at the Milan Malpensa airport, put on their sleeping masks, and departed for home. And in the high stakes, high-pressure world of fashion, they are already back in the office.
In the United States, the heart and soul of fashion is the Garment District in New York City. To get there, fashion house employees walk down 42nd street. They have lunch in Bryant Park. They take subways home. And with about 1 in 38 people in the United States living in NYC they come in contact with more people in one day than many of us will in a month.
Hopefully, no one picked up the Coronavirus in Milan but it’s already here in the United States and it will spread from behaviors like this.
Because of that, CDC guidelines for businesses have been issued and include a range of recommendations including asking at-risk employees to stay home, disinfecting workspaces, and to “ensure that you have the information technology and infrastructure needed to support multiple employees who may be able to work from home.”
I can tell you from personal experience that these three recommendations work. Several weeks ago the flu tore through our client technology area. In the space of 48 hours, 3/4 of the team went from sitting at their desks to lying in their beds with fevers, chills and aching limbs. Meanwhile, other associates in surrounding work areas started falling ill as well.
24 hours later during a global collaboration meeting Sue McCurley, Evolve IP’s SVP of Organizational Development, informed senior management that if associates appeared sick they were to go home. Sick associates were not to come back until they were 100% Influenza free. We also disinfected the office.
It worked. The illness stopped spreading essentially overnight. And, because everyone at Evolve IP can collaborate with teammates anywhere on the globe, and also access all of their files and applications on whatever device they want, there was virtually no loss in productivity. When associates felt better but were still potentially contagious, they were 100% active and engaged with the business.
What’s more, considering how much productivity would have been lost had the virus spread throughout the rest of the company, we were likely saved from an extremely difficult February on many levels!
If you’re a business executive you have a responsibility to ensure the growth of your business and the well-being of your associates. Remote work / telework not only helps protect your business from the next outbreak, it has been proven to make employees more productive and happier. Check out some interesting stats on remote work from Frost and Sullivan (and others) along with how one of our associates uses the tech every day in this quick video.
The attendees of Fashion Week didn’t have a real choice about attending the event. You have a choice about how you handle the pending Coronavirus outbreak in the US. If you have more than 100 employees and are interested in learning how Evolve IP can support your business with the IT recommendations from the CDC please visit our Website at www.evolveip.net and contact us for a demo.