Tis the Season

“I’m so confused now about what to do when an employee sneezes or coughs. What do I need to know?”

Your HR Survival Tip

As if having COVID affect our businesses for so long wasn’t enough, we’re now in the season of colds, cases of flu, COVID, and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus). If someone coughs or sneezes, everyone around them backs away… and with good reason.

October through February is the time of year to recall all we learned from COVID about protecting our work environment.

  • Keep an updated record of how much sick time each employee has available. It should be on their pay stub but this would be a good time to audit your sick time so you know it’s accurate.
  • You should encourage employees to stay home when sick. You can force them to stay home if the other choice is to spread their germs to other employees. Yes, you can force them even if they have no sick time left but please use this carefully.
  • Consider asking anyone “mildly” sick to wear a mask at work to help avoid the spread of whatever they may have.
  • Consider remote work for those who are sick but not so sick they can’t work. Be sure to state it’s a temporary measure and put a deadline on it. Even someone with a bad cold is usually past the contagious stage within a week or two.
  • Strongly encourage the use of hand sanitizers, wipes, etc. to keep shared equipment more germ-free.
  • Make sure employees cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing (for any reason). Not only will it help prevent the spread if they happen to have something contagious but it will help other employees worry less.

It’s obvious you can’t completely stop the spread of the common and not-so-common viruses floating around but we can work to slow down the spread at work with a little effort.

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