Beat the Bug: Preventing Sickness in the Workplace

Christina Campbell

November 29 2019

Sickness related absences from work spike during winter months, reducing productivity and costing businesses. Office workers and customer service employees are even more likely to catch and transmit sickness due to frequent interactions with others and working in densely shared spaces. Although avoiding seasonal sickness entirely is impossible, there are certain steps you can take as an employer to help minimize the risk of your employees getting sick. This will not only benefit your business, but it will also keep employee morale higher throughout the winter months.

Encourage employees to use their sick days.

Sick employees might feel pressure to come into work, fearing that taking sick leave might make them appear undedicated. If they do come in, not only will their productivity be lower but they might also spread their sickness to others. To avoid presenteeism, employers should remind employees of the company’s policy on sick leave and encourage them to stay home to prevent the spread of sickness. Not only will this allow your employee the time they need to make a faster recovery, but it will also demonstrate that you understand their needs and respect their well-being. If there is urgent work that can’t wait, give them the option to work from home.

Promote physical well-being.

People spend a big portion of their lives at work, and their workplace can have an influence on their health and well-being. To support employees, employers should encourage healthy habits by offering benefits such as gym memberships, discounts on fitness classes or organizing a lunch time walking group. Furthermore, providing healthy food and drink options in your workplace like fresh fruit and tea is a way to support your employees’ diets. Active and healthy people are less likely to take sick leave.

Support your employees’ mental health.

If an employee is feeling unwell, they may want to take sick leave even if they don’t have a physical illness. In order to ensure your employees’ well-being and to prevent the need for sick leave in your workplace, supporting your employees’ mental health is just as important. Work-life balance is an important factor to many peoples’ happiness and accommodating employees’ life needs demonstrates that you care about them as individuals. For example, you might let parents adjust their schedule based on their kids’ school times. To prevent work from taking away from their personal lives, make sure it stays within work hours. Don’t expect employees to answer calls or emails after hours, to stay late or eat lunch at their desks. Happy employees work better and keep workplace morale high, directly impacting your business’s productivity and success.

Keep the office clean.

Preventing sickness starts with preventing the spread of germs. Keep your workplace clean by sanitizing areas of frequent contact such as door handles, faucet handles, kettles, shared phones and laptops, and countertops. Offer tissue boxes and hand sanitizers that employees can take to their work stations and make sure the soap is always filled in the washrooms.

Need help reducing absenteeism in your workplace?

Our HR experts can help you minimize sickness and sick leave absences in your workplace. If you’ve noticed patterns of frequent absence among some employees, speak to our advisors on how to better manage absenteeism. Contact us today: 1(833)247-3652.

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