With the first major snowfall come and gone, winter’s finally arrived in the Twin Cities. The cold and flu season is also in full swing. Colds and the flu will get passed around the workplace, leading to lost productivity. According to a CVS Health survey, the majority of employees will go to work despite having a cold or the flu. Most don’t want to use up valuable PTO, but others also reported they feared lost wages or the wrath of a mad boss who expects them to be at work no matter what.
But requiring sick employees to report to work is a lose-lose situation. The employee loses out on the time he or she needs to get back to 100%, and the employer loses productivity, profitability, and even puts other employees’ health at risk.
Fortunately, you can avoid lost productivity and profitability with an ounce or two of education and prevention.
Stop the cold and flu with education
To avoid a cold or flu epidemic at the office, educate your employees on why it’s important to stay home when they’re ill. Explicitly state you do NOT want them to come in with a fever or other flu and cold symptoms. Explain your sick leave policies thoroughly so people understand when and if to use their time.
Hold a flu prevention workshop at the office. Explain the symptoms of cold and flu, home care, and when to call the doctor. Train employees on the importance of wiping down desk surfaces regularly, washing hands frequently, and avoiding sharing pens, computers, and food.
Prevention starts at the workplace
Provide your employees with the tools they need to prevent the spread of germs. Keep your bathrooms well-stocked with soap and paper towels and provide hand sanitizer for employees to use throughout the office. Ask a health care clinic to come to your workplace and offer flu shots to your employees. Ask employees to sign up for time slots and make sure they keep the appointment.
Finally, create a policy that encourages employees to work from home when they’re feeling under the weather. Many tasks can be performed at home online or over the phone. Working from home is a good option for employees who are ill but feel well enough to get a little work done.
Don’t let your workplace be ground zero for the cold and flu season. Educate your employees on how these illnesses spread and help them prevent the spread of germs at the office. For more cold and flu tips, contact me!
Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!
Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance