When was the last time someone at work called out due to illness? Most can say no less than a day or two ago. In fact, a recent poll that was cited by a Colorado television station showed that 38 percent of 1,000 people polled intentionally went to work ill – up to the point that they risked getting others sick in the process (Engelbart & Dahlke, 2019). This is further complicated when personnel don’t have available benefits or options to be able to get back to a healthy normal in as little time as possible. Hence, what is management to do when it comes to providing a healthy workplace?
The Truth about Absenteeism
When viewing historical data, and regardless of the point in time, people will need to take time away from work to recover from illnesses – it is simply a fact. In the most recent survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average, the annual absence rate for a full-time salaried worker is 2.9%. If one digs a little deeper, one can see that the percentages can vary anywhere from 2.1%, all the way up to 4.0% depending on the specific occupation. When looking at a standard calendar year and 2080 hours worked, that can amass to at least 41.6 hours to just over 80 work hours lost in a year. The ‘lost worktime rate’ is the more important statistic of the study. This focuses on illness exclusively. Though the average is about 1.5%, that also had a variance between 1.1% and 2.1% (2017). In short, absences are going to occur. However, there are strategies that can be put in place that can help to reduce these statistics slightly and help a business be more productive.
Strategies to Maintain A Healthy Workplace
Maintaining a healthy workplace is more than just requiring one to wash their hands after using the restroom each time they do so throughout the workday. It includes a number of behaviors that subordinates should already be doing, as well as some enforceable policies and procedures that should be put in place. However, management must be careful because any policy and procedure that is put in place needs to be accommodating for all, as well as be legal (Byrne, 2017). Listed below are some of the quickest and easiest strategies to implement at an office to promote and maintain a healthy work environment:
As one can see, a lot of these suggestions require little or no additional investment for a company to set aside to execute these options. Though a lot of these are common sense, one would be surprised at just how often these aren’t done (Englehart & Dahlke, 2019; GenesisHealthSystems.com, 2019; Lis, 2019; McKelle, 2015; TimeTac.com, 2019; & Victor, 2017).
Illness, even with the most preventive measures, is something that all need to be prepared for in the workplace. Management needs to also be aware that policies and procedures in place encourage healthy behaviors both when people are healthy and sick. Companies don’t need to spend excessive amounts of resources in order to maintain a healthy environment. In truth, all it takes is some preventive measures and some encouraging words to get their ill employees back to health.
Dr. Danielle Jenkins provides insights and tips on how to strategically run your business in the most efficient manner possible.