HR Tip of the Week: Flu season is among us. Do your policies combat the spread of illness in the workplace?
According to the Harvard Business Review, “presenteeism” – the problem of employees being on the job but, because of illness or other medical conditions, not fully functioning – can cut individual productivity by one-third or more. In fact, presenteeism can be much costlier to employers than absenteeism. It’s estimated that absent workers cost employers around $150 billion annually, but those who come to work and are not fully productive, can cost employers roughly 10 times that amount.
Here are some practical tips to reduce the spread of illness at work:
- Encourage, but don’t require, all employees to get a seasonal flu vaccine each fall.
- Consider hosting a flu vaccine clinic at your workplace or provide resources to employees about where they can get a flu vaccine in their community.
- Develop leave policies that encourage sick workers to stay at home without fear of reprisals.
- Advise employees to stay home if they are sick until at least 24 hours after a fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
- Ask sick employees to go home. Employees who appear to have a flu symptoms upon arrival, or who become sick during the workday, should be promptly asked to go home.
- Consider other flexible policies such as telework (if feasible) to allow workers to stay home to care for sick family members. Flexible sick leave or telework policies can discourage employees who feel the need to fight through their symptoms, and, in turn, reduce the overall disruption to the workplace.
- Provide resources and a work environment that promotes preventive actions to reduce the spread of flu. For example, provide tissues, no-touch trash cans, hand soap, and hand sanitizer products to employees.
Source: Fisher Phillips