One unavoidable fact about running a business is that your workers will sometimes be ill. They’ll usually need to take some time off work to recover at home. And the time they need can vary from a couple of days to a few months.

It can affect plenty of companies, and it can often hit startups the most. You might not think it, but business owners can do many things to lower the risk of illness in the workplace. Did you know that many illness reasons stem from problems such as hygiene at work?

The good news is you can take the following steps and tips on board to lower sickness levels:

Keep a record of staff absenteeism

The first thing you should do is log each time a member of staff is ill and doesn’t go to work. It’s important that those details get logged for many reasons. First of all, it shows you as an employer how often they are absent from work because of illness. Second, it helps you to spot trends (such as being ill mostly on a Monday morning).

And, third, it enables you to choose the best course of action if some people abuse your sickness policy. You can do it the old-fashioned way and make notes on paper or using Microsoft Excel. Or, you could use a computer program from Advance Systems. Whichever option you choose, make sure you keep the records safe.

Improve hygiene in the workplace

You would not believe how often people pass colds and other illnesses to each other at work! Perhaps the easiest thing you can do is promote hygiene at your premises.

For instance, you could have more or better washing facilities in your toilets. Having working areas cleaned each day is good for killing germs and bacteria. And consider replacing peripherals like keyboards and mice once or twice a year. That’s because they harbour a lot of bacteria from unwashed hands!

Hospitals often have hand cleaning facilities by doorways. You might wish to consider offering the same things in your offices too.

Once a month, get your carpets cleaned by professionals. Did you know that carpets often have a plethora of dirt, dust and even dust mites embedded in them? You might also know that dust is a leading trigger of medical conditions such as asthma.

The cleaner your workplace, the less likely your employees will get ill from being there.

Encourage a healthier workforce

If you’ve got the space, consider setting up gym facilities at your workplace. Many large buildings often have them to help staff de-stress after a day of work. They are also useful for encouraging people to be healthier.

Have you got a manned canteen at your premises? Consider offering only healthy meal choices to your employees. You could even subsidise the cost of some healthier options as an added incentive.

Quite often, staff illnesses can result from a poor diet. By eating fruit and vegetables rich in nutrients and vitamins, they’ll be healthier. Some might view these ideas as controversial. But, you aren’t forcing staff to eat healthier food or use your work-based gym.

Because people lead such busy lives, many seldom look after their health outside of work. This way, you are giving workers the option to be more healthier as they work!

Review staff roles

Sometimes people call in sick because they aren’t happy with their jobs and don’t want to work. It’s important to identify if that is happening with some of your workers.

Should that be the case, you should determine what sort of work they wish to do instead. If there is nothing suitable for their skill level, it might be best for them to leave and seek work elsewhere.

The last thing you want to do is pay for staff not to work for you. That’s why you should get to the bottom of such problems and work with staff to find a solution.

Give employees incentives for not being ill

Sometimes a token gift such as extra holiday or a gift voucher can motivate people to stay healthy! As weird as it sounds, it’s worked for many companies, and it’s something you ought to consider.

The incentives you offer don’t have to be expensive. You could even make them as part of each person’s KPI goals. The trick is to learn what motivates them the most and offer incentives to help them out.

For example, some may prefer a gift voucher so they can buy new clothes without spending their own cash. Others might want an extra day off so they could have a long weekend.

Good luck!

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