If COVID has taught businesses one thing, it’s that getting sick can be costly, like super costly. While at one point in time, there was this expectation that employees should still show up to work, even if they’re sick, thankfully remote work is a thing, or even just allowing them to take a day off, something that thankfilly more businesses are actually embracing. With that said, this still doesn’t really stop viruses like the common cold or flu from spreading, and these are usually pretty prevalent, especially in the autumn and winter months.
But in general, all businesses need to play their part in keeping their employees safe and revitalized, and of course, focus on maintaining a healthy office environment since this is crucial for the well-being of employees (and the overall productivity of the workplace). Since nowadays there’s a better understanding of the ever-present threat of illnesses, it’s essential for businesses to take proactive measures to create a workspace that promotes health and hygiene.
As a business owner with a team, what exactly can you do to make sure that not only do you avoid getting sick, but your team avoids it too, and no one gets sick? Well, here’s what you need to know!
Promote Regular Hand Hygiene
Chances are pretty high that everyone is sick of hearing this since it was on repeat for a few years during the pandemic, but this is true, and it needs to be acknowledged. So, be sure to encourage a culture of regular handwashing by providing accessible hand sanitizers, soap dispensers, and tissues throughout the office. It’s simple, and just having these around usually creates the culture within itself to promote it, but of course, signs around the workspace could help out, too.
There Needs to be a Cleaning Routine
It’s up to you whether you want to hire a qualified cleaner or implement a cleaning routine where all the employees clean up (since some businesses do this). But regardless of who does the task(s), this needs to be done right. So, be sure to establish a robust cleaning routine to disinfect commonly touched surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches, shared equipment, and office supplies- basically everything that gets touched everyday.
Also, whoever is cleaning is, of course, going to have to do the regular cleaning of desks, keyboards, and communal spaces, too, since these can significantly reduce the transmission of germs. For the most part, it’s best to hire professionals to take care of this since it’s a lot that needs to be cleaned and disinfected.
Encourage Remote Work When Necessary
So, not every business is going to have the luxury to do this, but if you run a business where people can be remote, then it might be best when they’re sick. If they’re showing symptoms or just don’t feel well enough, why put the rest of the team at risk? It’s going to be your fault for making this sick employee show up to work, and then the risk is so much higher for everyone else to get sick. In general, just keep in mind that remote work options can help prevent the spread of contagious diseases within the office and support employees in taking the necessary time to recover.
Consider the Air Quality
Since Autumn and Winter are the two biggest seasons where colds, flu, and other viruses spread around, it’s going to be best to look into the air quality of the workplace before one of these two seasons happens. So, why exactly does the air quality matter so much? Good ventilation helps dilute and disperse airborne contaminants, creating a healthier indoor environment. A lot of illnesses are usually spread in the air (more than what people seem to realize), so looking into the HVAC and even an air purification system can really help.
Create a Flexible Sick Leave
Who actually benefits from forcing their employees to show up to work sick? They’re not going to be productive, and they’re increasing the risk of getting others sick. So, as a business owner, it’s honestly going to be in your best interest (and that employees) if you went ahead and implemented flexible sick leave policies that encourage employees to stay home when they are unwell without fear of negative consequences.
Creating a supportive environment for sick employees helps prevent the spread of illness to colleagues, plus it’s going to allow them to recover way quicker. You need to think of this as a holistic approach because forcing employees to go to work when they’re sick is only going to make the business suffer in the long run.