If you own or manage a business, the question is not if cold and flu season will affect your company, but how and how much. The ‘how’ is shaped by the nature of your business. In retail operations, your clerks and cashiers are susceptible to the germs brought in by customers, but they can also potentially spread their microbial load to your customers – as well as their fellow employees. In manufacturing environments, co-workers are the primary personal interaction. The upside: you don’t have to worry about infecting your customers. The downside: you could experience a crippling workplace epidemic. Of course, if your company produces items for human consumption or application, the effect on your customers could be genuinely epidemic.
Any employee illness that leaves a position unfilled in your normal business model is a leak in your revenue stream. Employees filling in for a position with which they are unfamiliar is a stopgap measure that still contributes to a loss of productivity & profitability. Whether it’s a substitute teacher or someone from the Domestics Department filling in at the Fragrance Counter, substitutions are profit reductions.
So, how does an owner/manager eliminate those losses? The first response may seem counterintuitive, but it is essential: send the sick employee home. Yes, you will lose the benefit of their experience and effectiveness (although it is probably reduced by their illness anyway), but you will avoid their spreading their illness to their fellow employees. It is better to be down one good employee than to be down ten mediocre employees. The sooner they go to the doctor and go home, the sooner they can recover and return.
In the meantime, make sure your remaining employees have received their flu shot for the season. Make sure they wash their hands with antimicrobial soap and hot water. Make sure they use hand sanitizer. Every dollar invested wisely in employee health training and health equipment is, at worst, a wash in revenue flow. The one guaranteed money-saver in terms of preventive action is the installation of SafeHandles products. Every person who touches a SafeHandles-clad surface is a return on your investment – one less person who will succumb to a cold or flu due to intra-office transmission.