This winter, everyone seems to know someone at home or at the office who has been taken down by some variation of the flu or a virus. What can employers do to reduce the spread of illness and manage employee time off, leaves of absence, and requests to work from home? We have some suggestions!
Prevent the Spread of Illness in the Workplace
- Review your relevant policies to ensure that they encourage sick workers to stay at home without fear of any reprisals. Remember that you provide paid time off so that employees can care for themselves, take breaks from work to refresh, and much more.
- Encourage employees to stay home when sick and until they are no longer contagious.
- Throughout the day, clean and disinfect shared surfaces and objects that are touched frequently (e.g. doorknobs, desks, phones).
- Create a work environment that promotes preventive actions to reduce the spread of illness. For example, provide tissues, no-touch trash cans, hand soap, and/or hand sanitizer.
- Remind employees and loved ones to
- engage in good self-care, including getting rest and the seasonal flu shot.
- cough or sneeze into a tissue, sleeve, or arm – not their hands.
- avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.
Minimize the Impact on the Business
- If an employee has reported in sick and asked to be able to work from home, if the employee’s health and job duties do permit working from home, you can allow employees to work from home and make use of affordable telecommuting and teleconferencing technology.
- If the employee’s health and duties do not permit, then employees should not be expected to or required to work from home. Work with other employees to reassign the duties of ill co-workers to ensure smooth workflow during absences and to lessen the load upon return.
The attorneys and HR professionals at Lake Effect HR & Law are ready and willing to assist and advise if you have questions related to flexible work environments, employee perks, and leaves of absence. Contact us at info@LE-hrlaw.com or 1-844-333-5253.