Having a healthy workforce has been on the top of every business owner’s mind right now. While there are many things out of your control, there are some actions you can take to help keep your employees safe and healthy during the COVID-19 outbreak and beyond. As we will soon have employees who are working from home returning to work, here are a few things businesses can do to help protect their employees from illness:

Encourage Sick Employees to Stay Home
Communicate often about the company’s commitment to keeping employees healthy. Simply having a policy in your company policy guide isn’t enough. Make sure managers talk to employees about staying home if they are ill. Keep the lines of communication open so employees feel comfortable asking questions about their specific situation.

Review Your PTO Policy
Review your paid time off policy to ensure it supports employees taking time off when they are ill. Also, make sure you understand the paid leave laws in your state. Consider that employees sometimes feel pressure to come into the office even when they are unwell. Some reasons for this might include not wanting to disappoint co-workers or clients, not wanting to use PTO saved for a planned upcoming event, etc. Talk to employees about this and work with them to understand their specific situation.

Respond Appropriately to Sick Employees
If an employee comes to you and tells you they are ill, respond empathetically. Help them come up with a plan for managing their work while taking time off to get well. Consider remote work options if the employee is still possibly contagious, but well enough to do some work from home.

Encourage Frequent Handwashing
Make sure you have handwashing supplies like soap and paper towels stocked in the restrooms and break room. Post signs reminding employees to wash their hands. Keep hand sanitizer in conference rooms and other frequently used areas where handwashing is not available.

Provide Employees with Cleaning Supplies
Keep your office space clean. In addition to your regular cleaning protocol, have cleaning supplies on hand for employees to use their own workspace and encourage them to keep their area clean.

Taking these precautions year-round can help you keep your workforce as healthy as possible.