Conjunctivitis In the Workplace

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Pink eye infected our house this week.  It started with my daughter and then rapidly spread to the rest of the family.  Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, causes red, swollen, watery eyes.  Anyone who’s had this is familiar with the symptoms.  You’re also probably aware of how incredibly contagious it is.  It’s amazing how quickly and viciously bacteria can spread.  Even with vigorous hand washing and constant loads of laundry our entire family was infected in 2 days.

In an effort to find a positive in every negative situation, I uncovered a topic for this week’s blog.  Conjunctivitis in the work place.  I’m not referring to the actual bacteria affecting the eye, rather the workplace “bacteria” that can bring an office to its knees.  The “bacteria”, in this instance, is a bad attitude.  All it takes is one person to infect the entire team.  A few snide comments made to a coworker over the wall, trashing company decisions at the water cooler, and the dreaded “that’s not my job” response are all irritants.  In a matter of days the attitude spreads and the result is an unproductive and unhappy team.

So how do you remedy this problem?  With pink eye our doctor prescribed antibiotics.  In the workplace the manager needs to take a similar approach.  Like an antibiotic, the manager needs to find a solution that will selectively isolate and kill the single source bacteria. I’m not suggesting you terminate the individual, just that you remove them from the inflamed situation.  Sometimes simply moving desk location works.  I find that assigning the bacteria to a project they can find pleasure in helps.  If people are happy with their work they typically have a pleasant disposition at work.  Other times it helps to meet with the individual and understand the root cause of their frustration.  If there are issues that can be addressed, do so.  But also explain that the appropriate way to manage those frustrations is to address them with their supervisor and not the entire team.

How do you battle workplace conjunctivitis when it infects your team?

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Marilyn Cox

Marilyn Cox

Marilyn Cox is the Marketing Principal focused on developing the Industry Center of Excellence within the Oracle Marketing Cloud. Simply put, she's a modern marketing best practices sleuth.She researches, provides guidance and delivers marketing expertise to customers by developing industry-specific best practices.She works to facilitate exchanges between companies facing similar industry business challenges.Industry analysis and best practice development perfectly align with her desire to make peoples’ job a bit easier.She exists to empower sales and support the customer.Marilyn is a PMP certified project manager.Marilyn received her degree in Political Science from The Ohio State University and is the author of classifies herself as a left brain mind living in a right brain world.When not geeking out over industry marketing analytics, she can be found daydreaming about her unrealized dream as a professional wrestler with the WWE, training for an upcoming endurance race, and hanging out with her two awesome kids.
Marilyn Cox
3 Responses to "Conjunctivitis In the Workplace"
  1. Randy Schmid says:

    I support bacteria. They’re the only culture some people have.

  2. Laura Spencer says:

    Wow, am i the pinkeye you are referring to, Marilyn? i prefer to think i am good bacteria :)

  3. Steve Kayser says:

    I usually try to suggest an Optirectomy to them It’s an operation to their optic nerve from their butt to cure their crappy outlook on life.

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