Avoiding the bug

This bird flu thing is beginning to get to me. Here’s an article from Forbes that says it all in the title: "US Ill Prepared  for Flu Outbreak: Report."

The United States is unprepared for a global flu pandemic, according to
a draft of a federal report, which predicts a worst-case scenario that
could lead to the deaths of 1.9 million Americans and the
hospitalization of 8.5 million more people with costs exceeding $450
billion.

Lovely. But speaking of preparedness, shouldn’t every organization and person be thinking of a plan in case the thing really happens? Katrina showed us what happens if you think government is going to bail you out.

Ever since 9/11 I’ve had a motto: "Move bits, not bodies." I’d like to see the Society investing more in state-of-the-art communications systems. If we took some travel and meetings budget and put it into telecommunications gear we could avoid a host of problems: awful airplane travel; awful freeway travel; relentlessly rising cost of gasoline and airfares; and now possible exposure of people during an epidemic of frightening contagious disease.

I work at home two days per week. I’ve got the computer and telephone setup to do much of my work out of my home office. Other people in ACS are full-time telecommuters. This winter, bird flu or not, I’m going to spend more time at home rather than go into an office and sit all day in a cube amidst coughing, sniffling co-workers.

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  1. Coincidentally, this morning I sent out a building-wide e-mail asking if there were any interest in bringing in a nurse to give flu shots to employees (at the employee cost). Perhaps the motto should be “Getta shot, wash your hands a lot!” The shot is covered by our insurance although, if you do it at work you have to pay first, then submit reimbursement. But it’s more convenient than standing in line at a clinic. Should be cheaper this way if your alternative was to go to your doctor and have to make a co-pay. This year it’ll cost $30 per shot due to a rise in the cost of the vaccine.

    Another reason to telecommute is the high gas prices.

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