As business owners or managers, one of the biggest concerns we have is the issue of office attendance during cold and flu season due to sickness. The health of employees is a huge concern. Unfortunately for us, cold and flu season hits right when most employees are running short on sick days. For some of them, taking sick time isn’t an option. As a result, we end up with offices filled with germs and tons of sick employees. Past research suggests that sick days end up costing companies $150 billion each year in productivity. We can do our part as managers by doing the best job we can to keep the office free of germs and other illness inducing elements.
We know that the number of colds increases as the temperatures decrease. The cold, dry air wreaks havoc on immune systems because it tends to dry 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 virus breeding heaven. Here is what you should be doing to ensure that employees are coming to work healthy every day:
Your janitorial contractor can provide a comprehensive sanitization service for all touch surfaces throughout your office space. Taking this extra step to swab down everyone’s work spaces with disinfectant wipes will keep cold and flu viruses from spreading like wild fire. Computer keyboards, desks, telephones, door handles and switch plates are areas that are commonly disinfected. Additionally, during work hours, provide your employees with easy access to hand sanitizers to get right to the source.
In addition to standard office cleaning, get your carpets deep cleaned regularly. Carpets are a breeding ground for viruses and germs. Although regular vacuuming will remove the soil, it will do little to combat naturally occurring illness inducing elements. Getting your office carpets professionally cleaned however, will ensure that germs are removed.
Encourage Sick Days
If you have some seriously hard working employees who insist on coming into work despite illnesses, it ends up being more economical to let them have the day off rather than continue to work and spread their germs around to the rest of the office. Tell the HR department to encourage sick employees to call in or go home. Send out a companywide email clarifying the sick day policies and make all limitations clear to avoid employees from taking advantage.
As an effective manager, it is important to understand that the small cost of these additional safekeeping steps will far outweigh the large cost of loss in employee productivity do to illness.