Cold and flu season is in full force, which means employee absences are likely to increase. One sick employee can start a domino effect of employees calling out sick and a massive loss in productivity during the final quarter. However, this doesn’t mean managers have to accept rampant disease in the office as an inevitable outcome.
Focus on Prevention Rather Than Reaction
Trying to quell germs once they invade the office is much harder than keeping them out in the first place. Stopping the spread of bacteria reduces absenteeism, improves productivity, and stabilizes office morale. The following are several steps managers can take to reduce the spread of illnesses:
- Encourage or offer company-sponsored flu shots. Flu season begins in October and can last through May. Offering to pay for the shot can incentivize employees. Make sure employees are aware of any sponsored flu shot programs by sending out emails and hanging flyers in break areas.
- Encourage good hygiene. Most people know they need to wash their hands after using the restroom but not many take their own workspace into consideration. Encourage employees to keep their desks clean and keep hand sanitizer nearby. A recent study shows that using hand sanitizer in the office can reduce preventable health care claims by more than 20 percent.
- Encourage employees to use their sick leave. Many employees try to work even when they are ill for a number of reasons. Some may feel pressured by tight deadlines while others may fear running out of sick leave. Managers need to make sure employees know the company leadership cares about their health and doesn’t want them working while they are ill. Sick workers are less productive and can infect other employees, compounding the problem.
- Invest in hands-free appliances. Employees touch several communal items throughout the day that can contribute to the spread of germs. By installing hands-free soap dispensers, sink faucets, paper towel dispensers, and more, employers can reduce the spread of disease around the office.
Taking steps to prevent the spread of germs among staff members goes a long way toward keeping employees healthy and productive. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about managing employees absences.