Regardless of your title, work can wait.
With the flu season still in full swing and emerging threats like coronavirus, it’s critical for supervisors to consider their role when it comes to keeping employees healthy.
“We all can feel pressure to go into work for important projects or meetings, but this just exposes your co-workers and extends recovery time,” says Liz Hill, Total Worker Health adviser at SAIF. “It’s simple: if you get sick, stay home. If you have work that can’t wait, at least work from home so you’re not spreading germs.”
Hill suggests a company’s leadership team sets the tone for how illness is treated across the organization: “If you see your boss comes to work despite being sick, it can be hard to ask for that time off when you get ill.”
Here are five things managers can do to help reduce the risk of workers getting sick:
- Encourage workers to use their sick leave.
- Make it easy for workers to wash their hands. Consider having alcohol-based hand sanitizer available on worksites where handwashing facilities are not available.
- Plan for flu season. When employees are out, extra work can fall to other staff members—increasing their likelihood of getting sick or injured. Have a contingency plan for being short on employees.
- Stay informed. The latest information on the coronavirus can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization websites.
- And remember, lead by example. If you get sick, stay home. Preferably rest, but telecommute if you need to.
Hill adds there are still many weeks left in flu season, so it’s not too late to get a flu shot.
For more information on flu prevention at work—including free downloadable posters in English and Spanish—visit saif.com/flu.
SAIF is Oregon’s not-for-profit workers’ compensation insurance company. For more than 100 years, we’ve been taking care of injured workers, helping people get back to work, and striving to make Oregon the safest and healthiest place to work. For more information, visit the About SAIF page on saif.com.