The swine flu going around seems to have a lot of people hitting the panic button- not with a measured push, but with repeated, frantic thumps. But I’ve found its hard to be worried about the flu when you havent yet seen your first mask-wearing person. So the H1N1 guidelines sent out by our ever dependable (if over enthusiastic) HR department had me in splits, although I was the only one laughing on a floor full of sombre people carefully poring through the guidelines.
(Note: I have not made these guidelines up. Its an exact copy-paste from the mail we received. I have of course added the accompanying comments to explain the guidelines better)
Avoid close contact with people who might be ill. Preferably maintain a distance about 1 metre.
This single guideline tells you the magnitude of the problem. It is not enough to merely stay away from infected people- you have to maintain an optimum distance too. If you’re not sure how close 1 metre is, the thumb rule is to stay just out of arm’s reach of the infected person (henceforth referred to as the enemy), the intention presumably being to be close enough so the enemy isnt offended that you’re neglecting him, but not too close that he gets chummy and tries to hug it out.
Reduce the time spent in crowded settings
Shortly after this mail, the entire office was called together for an all-hands meeting. I would of course have avoided it under the pretext of this guideline, but they had pizza, and so I had to go. Damn!
Don’t shake hands
With a pandemic looming, now is not the time to be friendly. You may once have greeted colleagues and acquaintances with a warm handshake, but make it clear to them that things have changed. Try scowling and looking menacing- this ought to keep away nagging hand-shakers. If however the person looking to greet you is your CEO, menacing looks might not be a good idea. In such cases, you may use a high five.
Improve airflow in your living space by opening windows
On the face of it, seems like a well thought out guideline, except our office has like two windows!
Practise good health habits that include adequate sleep, nutritious food and lots of fluid and keeping physically active
The HR guy apparently decided to play it safe and recycle some ‘good health habits’ prescribed for everything from heart ailments to hair loss complaints. Just in case.
Don’t spit in public
Only till the whole swine flu thing passes. The moment it does, your constitutional right’ll revert back to you immediately. Pliss to adjust till then.
No need to wear a mask when you aren’t sick
Use face paint instead for this year’s Halloween party. Unless you are actually sick. In which case you can totally wear a mask to the party.
Use a spoon to pick-up all eatables
Personnel from the HR will patrol the cafeteria at all times looking out for people who’re eating with their hands. Those found guilty will be made to go through a ppt with 47 more guidelines like these.