Did you know that 75% of workers in one study missed work because of the flu or flu-like symptoms? And the average amount of time off work was two to three days.
Regardless of the size of your company, employee absenteeism run amok can jeopardize efficiency, productivity, and revenue generation. That’s one reason to do whatever you can to reduce the number of times workers call in sick and miss work.
U.S. businesses lose $225.8 billion annually because of employee illnesses and injuries. While that tally doesn’t focus solely on colds and flus, it nonetheless demonstrates the productivity hit that worker absenteeism can deal to U.S. employers.
Considering that this is the time of year when there’s an uptick in colds and flus in the workplace, consider these four things your company should focus on to curtail the problem.
- Prioritize Cleaning and Disinfection
One way to lessen sickness in the workplace is to prioritize routine cleaning and disinfection. During COVID-19, companies rigorously cleaned and disinfected surfaces, flooring, and different touch points in the work environment to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Protecting employees means committing to cleanliness. Consider hiring a janitorial cleaning services business to help keep your business sanitary. You can work with the service provider to set up a cleaning schedule that works for you.
As part of your efforts to protect employees and management, you should consider UV germicidal lamps. They can reduce colds and flus at work, lessen unpleasant smells, and more. UV germicidal lamps can be suspended from the ceiling in your workspace to help with disinfection. They’re worth looking into if you wish to keep cold and flus at bay.
- Encourage Sick Workers to Stay Home
Worker absenteeism can hurt workplace productivity. So, encourage workers to call in sick and stay home when they are sick. If workers habitually come to work when sick, other workers may get sick, too. Your workers need to understand that they’re doing no one any favors — let alone themselves — by reporting to work when they should stay home until they get better.
Offer flexible paid sick leave so workers don’t come to work when sick to avoid losing salary. They’ll be more likely to stay home when sick if you know they won’t be penalized financially for doing so. You can also allow them to telecommute when sick if they can work.
- Make It Easy for Workers to Practice Good Personal Hygiene
Don’t assume that everyone has the same personal hygiene standards. You must have a written policy and communicate proper conduct and best practices. You should also make things easier by supplying hand-washing stations, hand sanitizer, no-touch trash cans, tissue paper, and hand towels.
- Recommend Flu Vaccinations for Workers
It also makes sense to encourage your employees to get the flu shot. According to one source, studies have shown that the flu vaccine reduces the odds of getting the flu by 40% to 60%. And if the vaccine doesn’t prevent the illness, it can reduce the severity so that workers get back on their feet faster. Your company must educate workers on the importance of getting a flu shot — especially if they are susceptible to illnesses because of weaker immune systems.
Your business will want to cut down on preventable absenteeism. These four recommendations can help you move in the right direction. While there will be instances where workers legitimately call in sick, your business can at least invest in strategies to reduce these situations. It’s about investing in your most valuable assets — your workforce. And that investment will pay dividends.