No matter what industry you’re in, cold and flu season can take a serious toll on your day-to-day operations. Last-minute employee sick days add up, especially if people work in close quarters and illnesses spread through a team.
Instead of allowing these sick days to disrupt your workflow and damage morale, managers can take steps to prepare for these higher rates of absenteeism. That way, your employees can take time off to get better without causing extra stress in the workplace.
Liberty Staffing Services can make sure you are fully staffed going into cold and flu season. Contact us to find out how we can help you avoid understaffing at such an important time of year.
Here are some great strategies to keep your company running smoothly during cold and flu season.
Have a Plan for Coverage
Unexpected sick days can wreck havoc on your operations – if you don’t have a plan in place for coverage.
Cross-training helps you prepare your workers to cover other positions in the event of absences.
You may also be able to use freelancers or temporary workers to fill in gaps as needed. Some illnesses, especially Influenza and COVID-19, can force an employee to take an extended medical leave of absence. Having a good relationship with a staffing agency means you can quickly fill these positions with temporary workers who can cover until your permanent staff members return.
Encourage Flexible Scheduling
Flexible scheduling can be a huge help during this time. For example, you can let your employees shift their hours if they are recovering from an illness and need to work part time for a period.
If possible, allow your employees to work from home. Not only can people recover from illnesses better at home, but this prevents them from spreading illnesses to other workers.
Finally, relax your rules about late arrivals or early departures due to sickness. If your company culture puts productivity over employee health, you will end up wearing out your workers and creating more opportunities for illness to spread by employees who are worried about leaving early or staying home when they are sick.
Promote Preventative Health Measures
Prevention is a great tool for keeping your workforce healthy. Remind your employees to get flu shots and wash their hands frequently. You can even incentivize good preventative measures that will reduce the spread of germs at work. Be sure to sanitize common surfaces like doorknobs and shared equipment frequently throughout the workday.
Show Your Employees That You Care About Them
When your employees are sick, check on them!
Sometimes, workers feel like they are going to get in trouble for taking sick time, even if you have tried to build a workplace culture where you prioritize health and safety. It is important to counter this concern by reassuring your employees that you want them to be healthy!
You can show that you care by having strong sick time policies that allow employees to recover from illnesses like colds, Influenza, COVID-19, and other temporary medical conditions.
Additionally, high rates of absenteeism can damage morale in the workplace. You can protect employee morale by thanking the employees who pick up extra work during the cold and flu season to cover for their coworkers.
Use Temporary Workers During Cold & Flu Season
In addition to bringing on a temporary worker to cover a specific employee’s medical leave of absence, you will also benefit from having a team of temporary workers at any given time.
The worst case scenario is starting the cold and flu season understaffed, because that makes illness-related absences so much worse! But when you work with a staffing company and retain a team of temporary workers on staff, you can avoid understaffing all year round.
This also means that you can avoid overworking employees who cover for their sick coworkers.
Liberty Staffing Can Help You Prepare for Cold and Flu Season
Cold and flu season presents employers with a unique challenge: maintain productivity during periods of increased absenteeism without sacrificing the health or morale of your employees.
With some advanced preparation, you can weather the storms of cold and flu season with minimal interruptions. Our recommendations of preparing in advance, using flexible schedules, promoting preventative healthcare, protecting morale, and using temporary workers come from our decades of experience as a staffing agency.
The key is to have enough coverage in place so that you can easily adapt to whatever this season throws your way. We hope your employees stay safe and healthy this fall and winter, but if people get sick, we can help you prepare.
Contact Liberty Staffing to prepare for this year’s cold and flu season so that you can avoid some of the common seasonal staffing pitfalls!