With fall well underway, employers should take steps to keep the flu and other illnesses as far from the office as possible. While it may be impossible to block it entirely, taking steps to contain germs can help prevent a staff-wide outbreak of diseases. When employees fall ill, it disrupts productivity and can tank workplace morale as projects fall behind and staff members continue to get sick. The following steps can help employers keep their workforce healthy during cold and flu season:
- According to the CDC, one of the simplest ways to prevent the spread of the flu is to encourage employees to receive the vaccine. Clinics and pharmacies often offer them free of charge or for a very small fee if employees can’t make it to their doctor’s office during normal business hours. Some employers even host vaccine clinics at their own office to make it as simple as possible for employees to receive flu vaccinations.
- Employers should look over their leave policy to ensure it encourages employees to stay home when ill. Employees who fear disciplinary action if they call out when ill are likely to come into work when they’re still contagious and infect other employees. Sick leave policies should make note that employees should wait until their fever is gone for a full 24 hours without the aid of medicine before returning to work.
- Employers should instruct sick employees to return home, including those who become symptomatic partway through the day. Keeping sick employees away from an otherwise healthy staff can prevent a workplace flu pandemic.
- Provide resources to allow staff to engage in preventative action. Keeping the office well stocked in tissues, trashcans, hand soap, and hand sanitizer can reduce the spread of germs. Providing handouts or flyers with reminders and tips on respiratory etiquette and good hygiene can help as well.
- Provide resources and education materials about employees who are at higher risk for severe health complications if they contract the flu. For example, pregnant women, individuals with asthma or other chronic lung conditions, diabetics, and so on can experience serious difficulties if they catch the flu. Employers should encourage vaccination, particularly for these high-risk individuals, as well as instructing them to seek early medical attention if they start to show signs of the flu.
Taking the above steps to keep the office free of germs and disease can help prevent or, at the very least, reduce the number of flu cases in the workplace. Keeping employees healthy is vital to maintaining good attendance and keeping productivity on track. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more ways to reduce employee absences.