5 Tips On Keeping Healthy Employees Away From Sick Ones

By Greg Garner

Winter is the season when employees tend to get sick. While it is difficult for an employer to prevent illness from occurring, some measures can be taken to control the contagion. In fact, it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that healthy workers remain isolated from sick ones in the workplace.

Let us explore a few simple ways in which this can be done:

1. There are two main reasons for separating sick employees from healthy ones. Primarily, it is to protect the healthy workers and ensure that their health, productivity and pace of work are not affected by the sick ones. Viral fever, the common cold and the flu are contagious diseases that are easily spread in an office environment. Risks of contagion increase when sick employees share the same phone, computer keyboard, coffee machine or desk as healthy employees. Sneezing and coughing also aggravate the risk of contagion. The problem may not be acute with one sick employee but perhaps with six or seven of them.


2. The second reason is functionality. Sick employees work slowly and often make mistakes. When there is team work, the entire chain of work gets disrupted and the normal work flow is hampered. Sometimes, work done by sick employees may need to be redone by healthy employees. As such it may get difficult to manage the desired output.

3. One way of managing such an incidence is talking to the employees. If you have sick leave provision, then request the sick employees to make use of it. When such provisions are not available or are exhausted, explore options like advance leave or half pay leave if the infection is serious. Explain to sick employees how their presence may affect the health and performance of their colleagues. If a serious viral infection like Swine Flu breaks out, you may need to change the rules of your service to send suspected and affected employees on compulsory leave until they get a clean bill of health from a registered doctor.

4. Depending on the nature of the illness, a few sick employees may infect large numbers of employees. When employee illness is not life threatening and employees are fit to do light jobs, you may reassign lighter jobs until they recover. In such cases, it is recommended that you arrange a separate room for the infected employees.

5. Prevention is better than cure. Healthy employees need to be informed how to remain safe from the virus that has affected their co-workers. Some simple preventive measures include washing hands frequently with soap and sanitizing commonly used items like phones or computer keyboards.

It is important to keep in mind that you must not behave rudely towards employees that are sick. Stand by them during this crisis. At the same time you need to ensure that your healthy employees remain safe and that the business runs smoothly. When a contagious illness is spreading, explore the possibility of vaccination for your employees.

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