Attendance at the office during cold and flu season can fluctuate. Any office manager can tell you that it’s common for employees to call out due to sickness between the months of November and March.
Employee health is a big concern for managers and team leaders, who rely on their employees to keep up with productivity in the office. So often, cold and flu season hits employees who are already low on sick days. For some of these employees, taking sick time isn’t an option.
The end result? Germs and illnesses are passed from employee to employee. Past research suggests that sick days can cost companies $150 billion each year in productivity. We can do our part as managers by minimizing the presence of germs and other illness-inducing elements.
Why Illness Is Common in Winter
Viruses seem to increase as the temperature outside decreases. Cold, dry air wreaks havoc on the immune system, because it dries out the normally moist mucous nasal environment, making it less able to protect us from viruses. That, combined with our tendency to stay indoors more often during the colder months, creates a breeding ground for viruses.
What Your Office Can Do to Protect Employees from Viruses
Your janitorial contractor can provide a comprehensive sanitization service to disinfect surfaces throughout your office space. Taking this extra step to swab workspaces with disinfectant wipes will slow or prevent the spread of cold and flu viruses in the office.
Computer keyboards, desks, telephones, door handles, and switch plates are areas that are commonly disinfected. Set up a schedule with your janitorial contractor for disinfecting high-touch surfaces like hallway walls, stair railings, coffee pot handles, water cooler handles, and more.
Although your janitorial contractor is the first line of defense in the fight to keep surfaces sanitized, managers may also provide employees with easy access to hand sanitizers. Place hand sanitizers near printers, copy machines, reception desks, and so on.
Carpets are a haven for viruses and germs. Although regular vacuuming will remove soil and dust, it will do little to combat naturally occurring illness-inducing elements.
Professional shampooing will ensure that germs are removed. Work with a janitorial contractor with experience in office sanitization to ensure that your office space stays clean and safe for employees.
Keep Plenty of Soap On-Hand in Bathrooms
Give employees access to the tools they need to keep their hands clean and free of germs. Keep soap dispensers in office bathrooms full, and ensure that each bathroom is equipped with enough dispensers for the number of employees working in the office. Keep soap dispensers in the kitchen full as well.
Encourage Sick Days
Hard-working employees who insist on coming to work despite illnesses can spread germs that lead to more illnesses. Work with your HR department to encourage sick employees to call in or go home.
Send out a company-wide email clarifying sick day policies and make all limitations clear to avoid employees from taking advantage. Encourage managers to set a good example for employees by staying home when they’re sick.
Cross-Train Employees to Ensure Continuity of Operations
Employees who feel too essential to stay home and who have no backup in the office are more likely to come to work when they’re not feeling well. Cross-train employees to ensure that more than one person knows how to do each job, so they can fill in when someone else is sick.
Allow Employees the Option to Work From Home
A work from home policy allows employees to stay home and get work done if they’re not feeling well. This will enable employees to avoid taking sick time while protecting coworkers from their illnesses.
As an effective manager, it is essential to understand that the small cost of these additional safekeeping steps will far outweigh the high cost of loss in employee productivity due to illness. Sign up for regular cleaning with a janitorial contractor with a reputation for using effective office sanitizing methods. Call Blue Chip Building Maintenance today.