Every business has to deal with sick employees from time to time, which leads to sick leave. It can affect the productivity of your entire business, which is why managers and business owners must do everything they can to keep their employees healthy.
Realizing how absenteeism can hurt your business is a great motivator.
So how much does a health-related absence cost?
According to the Chartered Management Institute, sick leave costs employers £12.2 billion a year. This number is quite alarming. Since full-time employees spend most of their time at work, there are many opportunities to provide them with an environment that will promote better health. So what steps should you take to encourage better health among your employees?
Keep your workplace clean.
Since it’s impossible to say what makes an employee sick, it’s important to keep the workplace environment clean at all times. Dust that is allowed to accumulate can become a fertile habitat for germs, microbes and allergens to breed. Dropped food provides additional fuel for the fire, and can also attract insects, which carry all kinds of germs. You can’t expect your employees to be responsible for thoroughly cleaning their own work environment, and there are other parts of the building to consider, so it’s in your best interest to have your work environment cleaned by professional cleaner regularly.
Establish workplace policies for sick leave.
Encourage your employees to take sick days when they are sick. This will help speed up their recovery as well as reduce the spread of germs in the workplace environment. Most employees will adhere to this policy, but every once in a while you’ll have an employee so dedicated that they’ll still show up to work, even if they’re not feeling well. Such employees should be sent home immediately. Having your workplace cleaned daily by professional cleaners, especially during the winter months when germs abound, will help curb the spread of germs. A good professional cleaner not only cleans, but also comes with a disinfectant.
Recognize and fight Sick Building Syndrome.
Sick Building Syndrome (also known as SBS) is a term when employees start to experience illnesses or health problems stemming from their time spent in the building. If you’re starting to notice regular absences in your business, you might want to try having an HVAC specialist visit the building to check for air pollutants in the vents. This should be done every three to five years to make sure your ventilation system isn’t a problem.
Closed circulation can also cause the spread of germs from employee to employee. You see this a lot with airplanes, but it can happen in the workplace too. Fresh air and sunlight are natural germ killers, and if you have the ability to get fresh air into your building then you should take advantage of it to combat these contaminants naturally.
Reducing stress at work.
People who experience a lot of stress every day will eventually get sick. It’s important that you take care of the health of your employees, and that includes their emotional health. According to CDC, many studies show that stress at work can lead to many serious and even life-threatening illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, psychological disorders, workplace injuries, and sometimes even suicide. Having an open door policy can create an atmosphere where employees feel comfortable discussing the things that stress them out about their job, which will help relieve tension.
Plus, it’s a good idea to do things to boost the morale of your employees. Fortune magazine put Google as number one best place to work in 2014, and a quick search of their practices shows they take employee morale very seriously. While you don’t have to be as extravagant as the behemoth of this company, it’s certainly a lesson you can learn a lot from it. Workplace parties, recognition of employee accomplishments, and casual dress days are all easy and affordable ways to help boost morale, which in turn helps create an atmosphere that promotes good health.
In the end, implementing this simple policy will cost a little money, but it won’t cost nearly as much as a sick leave. Happy employees are healthier and more productive than unhappy employees. Caring for your employees and their work environment is a great way to show them you value their services.