“If, God forbid, you were run over by a bus …”

At one point my team was responsible for delivering 17 products to our print shop every 10 business days, excluding special projects (and we always had a special project). Having dedicated employees was essential.

During flu season, however, I sometimes had to talk them out of coming to work. Nearly three-fourths of employees will go to work when they are sick, a CareerBuilder survey found. As a result, more than half of workers say they have become ill because a co-worker came in sick.

I’d rather have a healthy worker two days a week than one who shows up all week but suffers from “presenteeism,” physically in the office but unable to function well because of illness.

One day while I was trying to assure an employee that we would be fine if he took a sick day, I came up with a line that I used often: “If, God forbid, you were run over by a bus, we would find a way to get the work done.”

Everyone likes to feel they are essential, but no workplace should be so reliant on any one employee that it can’t function without that person. With cross-training, my employees could be confident that their co-workers could cover for them in a pinch.

When they returned from sick leave, however, I made a point to tell them how much I valued having them back in the office. We could survive for a short time shorthanded, but our team always worked better with the skills and talents of every member.

So encourage your employees to take the day off when they are sick, but don’t forget to welcome them back by showing how much you appreciate having them on your team.

What steps do you take to keep your team healthy during flu season?

This entry was posted in Leadership, Management, Problem-Solving and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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