Managing Staffing Costs During Cold and Flu Season

By Jezabel Southard

Posted on November 10, 2017

Sick employee blowing her nose at her desk during cold and flu season When cold and flu season strikes, employees have a choice to make: Go to work sick, or stay home and recover. Employers have a similar choice: Demand employees show up, or encourage them to rest.

Employees who come to work sick impair productivity in two ways: by being unable to concentrate on their own work due to illness, and by increasing the chances that their co-workers will also fall ill. A single employee with the sniffles may not seem like a big deal – but the effects on your team can be huge.

Why You Should Prioritize (and Demand) Good Health Practices

Workplace culture throughout the United States stresses the importance of being at work to “get things done.” Even when employees are ill, they may feel more stressed about not being at work than they do about trying to work while sick. The wrong employer approach can exacerbate the problem.

To help keep your office healthier:
  • Provide clear, accessible sick leave policies. For a sick employee, it’s often easier to go to work than to calculate sick days or wade through a complex process of calling in. Create your sick leave policies and procedures from the point of view of an employee who is ill, and make them easy to use.
  • Enforce sick-day expectations. Even clear, generous sick leave policies will be ignored if workplace culture encourages employees to “suck it up.” Don’t be afraid to send people home if they come in sick, and to remind staff not to pressure one another to “tough it out.”

Talking to Your Staffing Partner About Short-Term Support

Despite your best efforts, cold and flu season may strike several staff members at once, or a particularly stubborn bug may put someone out of commission for a week or more.

To make sure essential tasks get addressed, talk to your staffing partner. Your staffing firm can help you create a plan that designates staff members to cover one another’s core tasks and ensures you can bring in the short-term help you need to cover additional work whenever you need it.

At TERRA Staffing, our recruiters connect our clients to the best direct hire and short-term staff available, helping them to keep productivity high and meet their business goals. To learn more about our workforce solutions in Portland, Phoenix and Seattle, contact us today.

Categories: HR and Management Advice, Staffing Tips & Recruiting Trends

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