Lessons Learned - Scheduling During the Anthrax Crisis

Vicki Freimuth, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Office of Communications
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

One of the things we did during anthrax, was actually go to having two duplicate teams for Media Relations, because not only was it long hours, it was incredibly stressful work. So having two teams, we actually went on an emergency worker schedule. So you were on four very long days and then you were off three days and it seemed that if you knew you had those three days off, you could almost tolerate anything. And that, I think, also spoke to the staff, that you really cared and you wanted to do what you could for them. And then I think afterwards, it's very important to let them process this a little bit, so we did a lot a feedback sessions, where people were able to talk about their experiences and make their own suggestions for how it could be better next time.