Even if you don’t pay your staff sick leave (perhaps they are casual or contract), sick staff cost our businesses in lost productivity. If you are also paying your staff to not work, then this adds up in real dollars to the financial loss if a staff member is sick. Remember also that you may have to get someone to cover them; further adding to the costs. So, let’s look at how you can keep your staff healthy:
• Coming up to winter, offer your staff free flu vaccines. If might cost you $50 or $60 per head, but you’d lose that in just half a day sick. Even better, organise a doctor to come in and immunize the team in the workplace. Check legislation, but I don’t think you can make it compulsory, but by paying for it, and making it easy to do, most staff will welcome the opportunity.
• Offer healthy snacks in the workplace. Rather than having just lolly jars and biscuits in the team room, have fruit – apples, bananas, grapes etc. Many people are health conscious these days, so having this option makes it easy for your staff to eat well.
• Free education is also invaluable – letting your team know what is good for them or not – even just flyers in the tea room. Don’t jam the propaganda down their throats (excuse the pun) but make information available.
• Remember to reduce staff stress where possible by first encouraging team to speak up when they are welling overworked or stressed. Quite often it’s easily remedied, with getting another team member to assist, or reviewing how they do things to improve efficiencies. Far better to address stress issues, than cover additional sick days, or worse resignations, as replacing team is always expensive, both in the process, retraining and loss of productivity.
• Finally, encourage exercise in the workplace. Having a gym is great for the larger corporate, but even small business can have walking clubs, cycling groups or encourage run fun days (where you may opt for a bit of training leading up) … exercise can be fun, social and healthy.
Encouraging your team to be healthy over the winter months (and beyond) isn’t that hard and most of them will appreciate and value the improved feeling of wellness.
Donna Stone is a business consultant with three decades of experience. She grew her own business from a garage to be a multi award winning operation that spanned five locations nationally. She shares her knowledge and expertise with clients to guide them in their own success. She is the author of the Stepping Stone series of books. Visit www.donna-stone.com.au