Your staff are the essence of your business, and are responsible for its performance in more ways than one. Nowhere else is it felt than when employees call in sick. According to a consulting company, PWC HR, staff taking sick leave could be costing businesses a whopping £29 billion a year, with each staff member costing around about £200 for every day they don’t come to work.
So, while you might have made a pretty penny on your investment at the end of the year, it’s still falling short due of what you could have reaped. However, forcing your employees to come to work while they’re sick could cost you more and is certainly not the answer. But you can increase output and avoid downtime due to sick leave by following these tips.
Quarantine the sick!
Not all illnesses are extremely debilitating, but most are contagious and significantly lower productivity. And, according to a study by Staples, approximately 90% of employees come to work even when they’re sick. They then infect their peers who go on to infect others, with the end result being a large unproductive workforce. Simply put, even though your office might be full, it’s not running at optimal capacity.
A wise decision here would be to send sick people home the moment they show signs of a runny nose. Studies have shown the people who’re allowed to work from home generally display more loyalty, are more flexible, motivated and complete tasks faster because they don’t have any interruptions.
For the love of pizza, open the windows
Your office may be contributing to illnesses more than you think. While your carpets are vacuumed and shampooed regularly, you might be operating in what experts say is a sick building. The term is related to poorly kept structures that might harbour bacteria in damp areas such as the hot water in the cooling towers, or the vents that regulate fresh air. It can also be a result of poor ventilation.
You or the building management should inspect obscure areas, especially damp places that might harbour germs. Don’t neglect a malfunctioning air conditioner, tap or toilet, as this can lead to some serious problems. Employees should also have access to clean, filtered water, which can be obtained from water coolers placed strategically around the office.
Apart from mould and other kinds of bacteria affecting your people, lighting can also play a major role in lowering productivity. Artificial luminescence is known to affect sleeping patterns, increase stress and destabilise energy levels. In turn these conditions lower the immune system, causing people to fall ill.
Your best option here is to try introduce as much natural light into the office as possible, or at least encourage employees to step out of the office regularly to get sunlight. This might mean discouraging people from taking lunch at their desks, or in the kitchen. You can also try to introduce more company outings where your staff can work outdoors regularly and under your supervision.
There are other ways you can try to lower the amount of people getting sick around the office. As a manager or employer it is your responsibility to ensure that staff are well taken care of around your office. Failure to do so will see your business make losses due to a high turnover and unproductivity.