Workplace sickness and injuries are an unavoidable cost of doing business, one that adds up to billions of dollars in lost productivity. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the financial impact of sick days for employers runs as high as one dollar per hour per worker. Here are some tips on minimizing sick days and creating a healthy and functional working environment.
Establish Firm Guidelines
No matter the policies an organization sets down, employees will abuse the system or search for loopholes. Clearly lay out the company’s health and sick leave policies so that there are no inconsistencies or ambiguities. Strong guidelines help minimize the chance of abuse: the state of Connecticut mandates paid sick time off, but only does so under specific circumstances and only sees as little as 3 percent of businesses describing the policy as a serious problem with regular abuses.
Offer Anti-Microbial Cleaning Options
The first step to combating sick leave days is targeting the most common sources of sickness. The battle begins in the public restrooms. The average public restroom contains 230 types of bacteria on a given surface, compared with nearly half that figure outside the bathrooms. Provide anti-microbial soap for employees to wash their hands after using the restroom. Go a step further by putting in anti-microbial wipes, toilet paper, and sprays so that workers and janitors can clean surfaces and plumbing fixtures after use. The best treatment for earaches, upset stomachs and runny noses is avoiding the viruses that cause them in the first place.
Stop Sharing Devices
Spreading disease and germs from person-to-person can happen simply by passing around a workplace tool like a pen or phone. The average person touches their face nearly four times per hour while also touching shared objects three times per hour.
Businesses can eliminate shared devices in several ways. A company that institutes a BYOD platform where employees use their own mobile phones and computers instead of swapping around company hardware will see a reduction in the number of germs passed on as different people use keyboards and touch-screens. Likewise, the office kitchen may have a wealth of germs thriving in wet, warm spots like under the sink or in the drains on within a sponge. Bring in plastic cutlery and have employees take home dirty dishes in order to cut down on the shared germs during lunch break.
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