Flu season is almost here again, which means sick employees and lost productivity. While it’s impossible to completely prevent employee illnesses, there are steps you can take to prevent an illness from spreading through your employees like wildfire. These five simple steps will help ensure that one person’s flu doesn’t become a company-wide issue.
1. Encourage Sick Time
Sick employees won’t spread their germs if they aren’t at work. Create policies and practices that encourage ill employees to stay home. Workers who fear losing their jobs or facing disciplinary action are more likely to come to work sick and infect their coworkers. Those who can’t afford an office visit to get a doctor’s note to return to work are also more likely to work when sick.
2. Offer Flu Shots
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a flu shot is the best way to protect yourself from getting sick. Encourage your employees to get flu shots by offering an incentive or hosting a flu shot clinic in-house. The more employees get vaccinated, the fewer employees will get sick.
3. Sanitize Surfaces
Talk to your building’s cleaning crew about sanitizing work stations as well as cleaning them. Common surfaces such as counters, desks, keyboards, telephones and door knobs all need sanitized rather than just wiped clean to kill germs. Sanitizing wipes are inexpensive, simple to use and effective at removing dirt and dust as well as contagions. You might also work with a cleaning company to keep the workplace consistently clean.
4. Provide Hand Sanitizer
Make hand sanitizer available to your employees at stations throughout the workplace. Avoid alcohol-based sanitizers as these are the least effective. Other sanitizers kill more germs and offer longer-lasting protection after use. Employees will use hand sanitizers located in convenient areas they frequent. Add hand sanitizers to bathrooms, as well, in addition to high quality hand soap.
5. Schedule a Deep Clean
Some cleaning companies offer special deep cleaning services to their customers. Take advantage of this offer by scheduling a deep cleaning twice a year. During a deep cleaning, workers move furniture, empty cupboards, and sanitize frequently overlooked surfaces like light switches. Carpets may also be steam cleaned. These deep cleanings prevent dirt and germs from building up in places that are not addressed as part of regular janitorial services. You can schedule this type of cleaning at the time of year, such as around the Christmas holiday, to minimize the disruption to your workflow.
Colds and viruses may be hard to prevent, but you can stop them from sweeping through your business. These steps will keep your employees healthier during cold and flu season, both minimizing lost time and showing your employees that you care about their health and well-being. Stopping the spread of workplace germs is a win-win for you and your human resources.