With the arrival of autumn comes the beginning of the sniffles, the sneezes and the “sick season.” If you are an employer, now is the time to do what you can to help prevent your employees from becoming sick and, if they do, to prevent them spreading the “yuck” to others.
Here are some tips to improve the health of your workplace, which ultimately leads to a healthier bottom line for your business.
Communicate your sick time policies and culture
Remind your employees about your sick time or sick leave policy and discuss your sick “culture.” Does your workplace encourage and support people who stay home when they are sick or are workers made to feel guilty for calling in sick?
If you want employees to stay home, make it very clear that is the expectation. Don’t encourage a culture of coming to work when they are sick and just “sucking it up.”
Make it possible for employees to stay home when they are sick by developing a strategy to ensure their jobs can get done without them.
Encourage a work-from-home option if their job is one that can be performed from home and only if they are not too sick to do some work.
Provide stay healthy ‘tools’
Arm your workplace with the tools needed to help your employees stay healthy. Distribute boxes of tissues, plenty of soap for handwashing, and disinfectant wipes for desks and workspaces.
Encourage a healthy workplace year-round
Employees who are healthy to begin with are less likely to become sick and recover faster if they do.
You can create a healthy workplace by providing healthy snacks, lots of water and encouraging exercise. This is especially important when workers are sitting a lot. Too much sitting isn’t good for anyone’s health or productivity, so get people moving.
Instead of meeting with an employee in the conference room, take a walk outside or around the building. Encourage lunchtime walking groups or bring in a yoga instructor to lead stretching exercises. Offer gym memberships or after-work group workouts with a trainer.
Call the shots
To reduce the chances of employees getting sick during flu season, consider offering employees free flu shots. The more convenient you can make it for them, the more likely they will get a shot. Bring the flu shots to them or have a “flu shot” day and let your employees leave work to roll up their sleeves.
Show them how it’s done
Lead by example! If you are the boss and trying to create a culture of health in your workplace, be a role model by taking care of yourself. Bring in healthy snacks, walk around the office, exercise on your lunch break and by all means stay home when you are sick.