A healthy workplace is important to you, to your employees and to your company’s financial well-being. However, workers do get sick or injured. They can come down with colds or flu that impede productivity and may spread through the office to co-workers – creating a mini-epidemic that impacts your bottom line.
What can you do about it? If you take care of employee health and safety, your staff has a better chance of remaining productive – even when there’s “something going around.” If you ignore employee health and safety, you’re doing a disservice to loyal team players and to your company.
These steps can help you ensure a healthy, safe workforce and a healthier bottom line for your company:
Offer health insurance at group rates. Businesses can purchase health insurance for employees at lower rates than employees can buy health coverage individually. As a business owner, you may view health insurance as an unnecessary expense, but when employees have access to reasonably-priced health care, they’re more likely to get treatment when they need it. That can mean fewer sick days and increased productivity. It can also make your company more competitive in attracting and retaining good employees. Think of it as an investment in a more productive workforce.
Create a sick day policy. Make it part of the employee manual. Or simply send out a memo: “If you’re under the weather, don’t come to work.” Germs that cause many diseases can be spread in close quarters, and one sneeze can wipe out an entire department for a week. Employees who are sick may be able to work from home. Or create a policy of providing a certain number of paid sick days per year. Pay employees even when they’re unable to work, in order to prevent spreading illness through well-intended, but misplaced, company loyalty.
Provide all necessary safety equipment. It’s not only good business, it’s the law. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates everything from safety goggles to face masks, to full body suits when employees work with dangerous materials or use potentially dangerous equipment. To learn more about the latest OSHA safety and health recommendations and requirements, visit osha.gov.
Place hand sanitizers in restrooms and around the office. These anti-bacterial lotions can kill germs that cause colds, flu and other illnesses. Simply making hand sanitizers available to employees may cut down on the number of illness-causing germs floating around the workplace.
Encourage employees to get flu vaccinations each year. Flu shots are available from physicians, pharmacies, at health fairs – you may even be able to bring in a health care practitioner to inoculate employees in your workplace to make preventive health care easy and convenient.
Talk to your banker about flexible savings accounts (FSA) or health savings accounts (HSA) for employees. FSAs and HSAs enable employees to put aside a portion of their wages into accounts used to pay medical expenses when they arise. Many people don’t seek health care when they need it because a trip to the doctor’s office can be expensive. Offering FSAs and HSAs can take some of the pain out of being sick, and these accounts encourage employees to seek medical care when they need it.
Provide ergonomic furniture and aids. Repetitive stress disorder, carpel tunnel syndrome and other workplace-related conditions can be alleviated with workplace furniture designed to address stresses and strains on employees. A simple wrist rest that positions the arms of employees who work on a keyboard all day can eliminate serious medical conditions. Talk to your insurer about getting the right equipment to help keep employees healthy.
Take a pro-active approach to good employee health and safety to enjoy healthy business growth. Make good health a business priority. Your employees will appreciate it and so will the health of your business.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of ZB, N.A. Member FDIC.