Your employees have been working feverishly all year long, and the holidays are finally around the corner. But just as the company is working to wrap up all end of the year projects, a bug starts going around the office. It’s inevitable that a handful of employees will catch something during flu season, but HR and managers can team up to stop the spread and keep sick employees at home until they are well enough to return to work.
How can you make sure that employees are in tune with their health and keep other employees safe from an office-wide epidemic? Here are five tips to keep your workplace healthy:
1. Encourage Working From Home
With a structured work from home policy, everyone wins. Often employees come into the office when they’re not feeling well because they either don’t want to use up sick days or they don’t want to let their team down. If employees have the ability and support to work from home they will be more likely to stay out of the office when they are feeling under the weather. Encourage employees to take advantage of this policy and lead by example, taking time off to work from home as needed.
2. Keep Workspaces Clean
An easy way to keep sickness from spreading through the office is to provide sanitary supplies that help prevent the spread of germs. Install hand sanitizer dispensers in the restrooms and common areas, keep sanitary wipes easily accessible, and provide tissues near each desk. Ensure that the workspaces are cleaned regularly and employees follow basic sanitary etiquette.
3. Offer Onsite Health Screenings
One of the most common obstacles to employee wellness is that there is never a good time to duck out of work for a doctor’s appointment. Make it easier for employees to get what they need by offering free onsite biometric screenings or flu shots. You’ll be amazed by how many employees will want to take advantage, and you’ll have a healthier office at low or no extra cost.
4. Keep Preventative Medication in the Office
As soon as that change in the weather hits, it’s a great idea to have your office emergency kit stocked with Emergen-C, cough drops, and a variety of teas. This little gesture can go a long way in increasing employee health and helping them get back in that practice of self-care. In the grand scheme, it’s a low expense to improve the quality of life for all employees in the office.
5. Train Managers to Take Action
If employees refuse to leave the office even when they’re sick, it may be time for managers to step in. Train managers to encourage employees to head home when they’re feeling under the weather. During cold and flu season, it’s crucial to work together to reduce guilt around taking sick time. Make sure that managers, leadership, and HR alike are leading by example and taking time off or working from home as needed. It’s important to reduce the social stigma so that you can all contribute to a healthier workplace.
Health and wellness are crucial to employee well-being and productivity. While this should be an ongoing effort, there are many ways to take it to the next level during the colder months. Be sure you have an action plan in place to keep your company as healthy as possible and encourage sick employees to rest up at home and return when they’re healthy.
Rachel Bolsu is a Content Marketing Specialist at Namely, the HR, payroll, and benefits platform built for today's employees. Connect with Rachel and the Namely team on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
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