Winter is coming. And with winter comes coughs, colds, and the dreaded flu. So, how can you deal with sick workers – especially those that come in to infect the entire office?
The first thing you can do is the most obvious – pay for your staff to get a flu vaccine. You can do this either through reimbursing them for the cost of a visit to the pharmacy, or by getting a nurse in to give jabs in your workplace. Not only does this protect your staff from influenza – which can take someone out of action for a week and potentially send them to hospital – you also help your community through herd immunity. So you can pat yourself on the back for generally making the world a better place. If you want to protect your staff and your community further you can look into subsidising vaccines against chickenpox (no, not everyone had it as a kid) and whooping cough.
The next thing to do is foster the kind of workplace where people stay home when they are sick – whether they have sick days remaining or not.
Sick employees coming in to work stay sick longer, do a worse job, and most detrimental – they make other employees sick. Employers find that when they institute a culture of staying home when sick, they have fewer sick days taken in total – the idea that allowing sick employees to stay home will just be taken advantage of doesn’t pan out. It’s actually more likely that employees will still come in, determined to get their work done.
Creating a healthy workforce is more than just making sure our sick employees don’t come in to work to infect others however. It is also about keeping your healthy employees well. Companies have explored ideas like providing healthy snacks such as fruit and veges in the office kitchen, keeping hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes available to use – particularly in hot-desking situations – to stop the spread of germs in the office, and making sure staff are able to get enough sleep (including those at the top.) Things like gym memberships help keep your employees healthy over the long term – plus fit people have more robust immune systems.
Taking on board some of these suggestions will reduce absences and presenteeism which ends up costing your business money. And don’t worry, it’s only four months until the start of spring!