Workplace Etiquette – It’s Flu Season

“A recent study showed that a virus went from the front door to half the office in four hours!”


Little Known Facts:

  • The average adult brings their fingers to the nose, mouth or eyes about 16 times an hour.
  • Coffee pot handles were some of the first places the virus spread.
  • A workspace with plastic and Formica surfaces and a grooved keyboard offers a hospitable environment for germs.
  • A light switch – common respiratory viruses can survive on a surface for a maximum of two to
    four days.

I think we’d all agree we would rather not have employees around the office when they are sick. After all, the sick employee is likely not very productive and there is an increased chance of someone else in the office picking up the bug.

However, work place culture and job insecurity may be affecting the decision-making process for some employees. If you are a manager or a business owner you have to ask yourself the question:

What kind of employer do I want to be?

A little general kindness and empathy can really make a difference in how your workplace is perceived. In addition, while this shouldn’t be the motive, you get something back when you do good by your employees.

“Take the rest of the day off. Go home, take a nap. I hope you feel better.”

One key to molding the perception of your business is to evaluate your existing policies and benefits. You have to ask yourself, do our policies reinforce what our ‘vision statement’ says about us? Do you really want to be considered ‘an employer of choice?’

Cleanliness is next to godliness – speak to your cleaning crew. Find out their regimen and consider modifying during peak flu season. Change habits and focus on high contaminant areas. Are hand cleaners available in multiple locations? Are restrooms stocked with the necessary supplies?

Compass Workforce Solutions can help you review, compare, evaluate, and communicate the values and benefits your business wants to be associated with.

You know when you are beginning to feel sick. You woke up with a sore throat. You’ve started to sneeze, a few sniffles are apparent…

Time to take action!

Let common sense rule. Be careful what you touch and take extra precaution to avoid possibly infecting others. Use tissues, wash your hands repeatedly, and avoid touching general usage areas unless you know your hands are clean. Use disinfectant wipes on your phone, door-handle, key board, and desktop. Don’t shake hands with others.

The next stage

Now you are really sick…stay home! Follow the standard care procedures: rest, fluids, more rest. Are you contagious? Not sure? See the doctor. Get an Rx, if needed.

Word of caution to the ‘paid time off’ abusers…invariably if you ‘called in sick’ several times to extend your weekends, you will get sick in November and really need those days to recover from the flu…
Just sayin’

Other Considerations:

  • If you have medical coverage, check with your carrier, a seasonal flu shot might be covered.
  • If you don’t have coverage, check local pharmacy chains, they advertise inexpensive, no-waiting flu shots.
  • If you are out of sick time – speak to your manager or human resource personnel, you may be able to use vacation or personal time. You may be able to ‘borrow’ time from next year’s allocation.

Compass Workforce Solutions can help– we can assist you in managing your workforce and in creating human policies for the realities of life. Call our office; speak to a human resource professional about your company’s policies or employee handbook at 631.794.7400 or write to us:

This is not legal advice and will not cover all situations and circumstances.