How to Reduce Employee Sick Days
Whether you have one employee (yourself), a dozen, or hundreds, sick days affect your bottom line. Poor health costs US businesses $576 billion annually. Part of that amount is linked to employees who show up to work sick, but fail to perform at their best due to their illness. If you want to save your bottom line from huge expenses due to illness, here are some tips you can use to minimize employee sick days.
Promote Good Health at the Office
The best way to minimize employee sick days is through prevention, and the best prevention for being sick is staying healthy. You can promote good health in your office in a variety of ways.
- Kick out the vending machine full of candy bars and chips and set up a fruit basket instead for employees looking for a mid-morning or midday snack.
- Can’t put an exercise room in your office? Partner with a nearby gym for a discount for employee memberships instead.
- Hold health-related events for employees. Hiking trips, a seminar on healthy cooking, a weekly yoga class, and similar events can remind your employees what it means to be healthy on a regular basis.
- Encourage employees to take paid time off for annual wellness visits with their primary care physician.
- Ask employees what you could do to facilitate a healthier work environment, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
In other words, look for ways to get everyone involved in something healthy at the office. This will ultimately translate into healthier employees who take less time off sick.
Let Sick Employees Work From Home
If an employee’s job can be completed from any location that has an internet connection, let sick employees work from home. Make your an office an environment where sick employees won’t even try to come into the office because they know they can call in for a work at home day instead.
For the employee, it means that they can save a sick day for when they are completed incapacitated. For the workplace, it means that you are still getting some productivity from your employee without risking them infecting everyone else.
The key is to ensure that your employee is, in fact, working from home. A few emails, a call, or a Skype message will do the trick to see if they are on their computer or getting paid to watch daytime TV.
Even if sick employees can’t work from home, they should be encouraged to stay home. While you lose the minimal productivity that can be offered by someone dealing with an illness, you also lower the risk of them spreading their illness to other employees.
Increase Paid Vacation Days
Let’s face it – a lot of employees don’t take sick days because they are sick. They take them because something came up and they don’t have enough vacation days to cover it. Instead of making employees feel like they have to take their sick days as extra vacation days, give them extra vacation days.
You might be thinking that this will cost the same as sick days, but it might not. Instead of someone calling in the morning of their sick day, they will have more days to plan scheduled absences with. This will allow them to plan around those days, making sure tasks get completed on time or in advance, and ensure that other employees are not having to scramble to cover for the unexpected absentee.
People get sick – it’s inevitable. The best way to ensure that it doesn’t hurt your business’s bottom line is to plan for it, find ways around it, and keep it from spreading to as many employees as possible.