Improve Productivity by Helping Your Employees Stay Healthy
Sick employees end up costing businesses a lot. Unfortunately, everyone gets sick and there’s no way around that. The CDC advises that workers should absolutely take time off from work to recover. It is the best advice that someone should stay home until 24 hours after they stopped experiencing symptoms without the use of medicine. This makes sure that the person is no longer infectious before going back to work. For most people, this is 4-5 days, though it varies from person to person.
Some businesses, however, don’t provide workers with adequate sick leave. In other cases, office and work culture discourage people from taking days off, even when they should. These are terrible mistakes, because the cost of sick employees is more than just money.
When we get infected with some sickness, be it the common cold, the flu, or something worse, our bodies do everything they can to fight it off. Most of the symptoms associated with common illnesses have nothing to do with the disease, but are simply our body’s response. Fevers happen because many disease causing bacteria cannot survive the elevated temperature, so the body does this to kill them. Fatigue is to force the body to rest so that more energy can be put towards fighting the infection. Vomiting is the body’s attempt to expel harmful bacteria in the gut.
You get the idea. Everything your body is doing is trying to kill the bacteria, but this will make the body weak and tired. This is one of the major costs that sick employees have on businesses.
Sick Employees Have Poor Productivity
One of the main reasons businesses often try to deny sick days to workers is because they believe the days off will cost money due to lost productivity. While this is true, it can be worse if employees work when they should be resting. Even just tiredness from working too many hours in a day ends up costing businesses more money than they make from that work. Now imagine the lost productivity from an employee trying to work while sick. It’s far worse because instead of just being less productive during the overtime hours, they are less productive the entire day.
And then there’s the risk of spreading it to others.
Sick Employees Spread Sickness
According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, the impact of a single sick employee is noticeable, but it’s nothing compared to what happens when the sickness spreads to others. Spikes in diseases running through businesses have an exponential effect on the productivity of the business. As more and more people either take work off, or come to work unable to be productive due to illness, you end up paying people the same amount to do as little as a quarter of the work they normally do.
It is clearly in the best interest of companies to allow employees sick days off, but thanks to corporate and business culture, there are a lot of people who don’t, even when they can. According to one study, 44% of surveyed workers reported not using all their sick days even when they needed them because they worried they’d be in trouble if they did. Possibly as much as 26% of workers never take any sick days. That’s a lot of people businesses pay to do a fraction of their normal work who are also spreading the sickness around.
Sick Leave Improves Employee Productivity
Despite what many businesses think, sick leave, both paid and unpaid, helps businesses stay productive. What multiple studies have found is that when counties required paid time off for sick leave, it usually slows the spread of disease. Workers are more productive when they aren’t sick, obviously. When workers feel safe in their working environment, they are even more productive. Feeling like they have adequate sick leave and will not be in trouble for taking it is a great way to make sure your business continues to operate at its best.
Take Other Steps To Reduce Sickness
One of the things the previously mentioned study mentioned was the effects of Covid-19 on businesses. While obviously people took more sick days during the pandemic, one positive benefit that has come long-term is the increased efforts to stay healthy. Workers were more likely to put effort into their personal hygiene, for one. Soap is very effective at killing most infectious organisms commonly encountered in the workplace. Adding sanitizing stations to the workplace has had a net positive effect in reducing sickness in businesses. On top of providing soap, you can also do more work to sanitize the workspace. Research since the pandemic has found this is also effective at improving company health.
As a business owner, you can do even more to encourage healthy behavior. Consider educating workers on healthy eating and sleeping habits. Proper nutrition is key to good health, as many of the nutrients we need play a key role in keeping our immune system strong. Sleep, on the other hand, plays a role in so many basic functions of human health that getting poor sleep is essentially begging to get sick.
Clean Air Is A Factor In Public Health
Just last month, we talked about Sick Building Syndrome and its impact on employee health. Bad air can cause a lot of health issues. That’s why regular air duct cleaning is such a big advantage to any business that wants to keep its employees healthy, as well as having many other benefits. It’s simple to schedule, but many people overlook it because we don’t ever see the inside of our air ducts. If you haven’t done any air duct cleaning in your business, consider giving us a call.
Keeping Your Business Healthy and Productive
It’s definitely a good idea to do everything you can to minimize the sick days people have to take, but don’t let this become a pressure on your sick employees to keep working. Sick employees are not productive and they spread that sickness to others. Instead, make sure people are allowed enough sick leave to take care of themselves and make sure they feel comfortable taking it. Take extra steps to ensure your workers’ health, on top of that, like providing hand sanitizer, encouraging good eating and sleeping habits, and making sure the air in your business is good and clean.
Keeping employees healthy, even if it means letting them take time off, is a far more profitable strategy than expecting people to show up to work sick.