How to Keep Your Business Running Smoothly if Employees are Hit Hard with the Flu

How to Keep Your Business Running Smoothly if Employees are Hit Hard with the Flu

It’s cold and flu season. And while sick days and lost productivity can be tough on all businesses, small businesses can be hit particularly hard since there aren’t as many employees to pick up the slack when workers are out sick.

Of course, as we all know, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Therefore, preparing your business for the long, germ-filled cold and flu season can go a long way toward reducing the impact of the flu on your business.

Despite the fact that the flu vaccine is regarded as one of the best ways to prevent the flu, it is difficult to mandate that all employees get vaccinated. You can, however, provide incentives for employees to get the flu shot. These include things like giving employees paid time off to get the shot, paying for the shot or hosting an onsite flu shot clinic.

There are several other flu and cold prevention tips employers can use to try to stave off a full-scale outbreak. These include:

  1. Educate staff on the dangers of the flu: Consider email blasts or an informational meeting talking about the dangers of the cold and flu season and how to keep the workplace as healthy as possible. Many people don’t realize the toll the flu can take on an individual and a business. This will help them get the point.
  2. Encourage sick employees to stay home: Many employees try to prove their dedication to the company by powering through the flu and coming to work. Make sure your employees know this is not something you want them to do. Make sure employees don’t feel guilty about taking sick days, either.
  3. Promote healthy living: Healthy immune systems are better able to fight off the cold, flu and other germs. Encourage employees to eat well, exercise and get enough rest throughout the year by providing them with a health and wellness program that encourages a healthy lifestyle.
  4. Talk about the importance of hand washing: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us that handwashing is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of germs. Place posters throughout the workplace to encourage works to wash their hands frequently.

Finally, while employee health should always be your number one priority, business owners know that having too many sick employees out at one time can wreak havoc on productivity and their bottom line. In light of this fact, it is important to prepare an action plan if the flu hits your office hard. For example, encourage employees to prioritize the most important tasks if manpower is reduced. Staggered schedules is another option if a number of employees are sick at once.