It seems that employees are often at one end of the spectrum or the other when
it comes to their attendance record. Some employees take time off from work at
the first sign of a headache or the sniffles when it may not be entirely necessary.
These are probably the same people who, as children, stayed home from school at
the first symptom of an ache or pain.
The other extreme may be worse, however. Some employees will drag themselves
into work with full-fledged stomach viruses, the flu, or raging colds, infecting
many other employees as these "heroes" barely make it through their
Encourage 'Heroes' To Stay Home
What should employers and managers do? For one thing, when you encounter an
obviously ill employee, thank the person for coming in but recommend that he
or she go home and get some rest. Employee publications and department or organizationwide
meetings may be used to communicate management's policy regarding employee
illness. It will also help if you educate staff about how quickly something
like the flu, a respiratory or stomach virus, or strep throat can spread through
Such communications notwithstanding, you will undoubtedly have some workers
who are still going to come to work sick. Therefore, encouraging other practices
that stop the spread of germs, such as encouraging employees to wash their hands
more often, may also help.
Employees should also make sure that other employees are not using their telephones
and computers. If they find another worker doing so, employees should clean
their work surfaces with antibacterial cleansers that the company makes available
Other employers have taken precautions a step further by making soapless hand
sanitizers in containers that fit in a desk or purse available to staff. These
sanitizers may also be installed in permanent hand sanitizer stations. Two companies
that offer such systems are Purell and Best Sanitizers.
For more ideas about preventing the flu and other illnesses, visit the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov/flu)
and Purell's workplace website at http://workplace.gojo.com/.