— Review policies on telework. Can the firm allow for telework in its jobs? If so, does it enable employees to telework if they or their children are sick?
— Allow for flexible work hours. If possible, allow employees more flexibility to come in late, leave early, and work on weekends or nights to accommodate their needs to take care of their own illnesses or those of their children.
— Allow employees to make up lost sick time. Some sick employees go to work because they will lose pay if they don't show up. If they could make up the time and pay, the employees might be more inclined to stay home when they are really sick.
— Sanitize. Set up no-touch hand sanitizer stations and ensure that all common services are being sanitized frequently (elevators, door handles, etc.). Encourage employees to wash hands frequently and avoid handshaking or use latex gloves (depending on the nature of their work).
— Devise business continuity and contingency plans. Employers need to have plans in place in case there are serious absenteeism problems. Identifying essential employees and business functions is also an important part of arriving at these contingency plans. Have someone in the firm assume the role of workplace illness coordinator to keep statistics on absenteeism, sick leave, etc.
— Establish an emergency communication plan. Document key contacts and have a plan for informing employees about actions.
— Reevaluate how you conduct business. Limit meetings, use conference calls or video conferencing for large group meetings so that people do not have to be in close proximity to each other.
— Allow employees to report concerns about sickness in the workplace. Provide a way for employees to anonymously report health issues so management can look into the situation and encourage the sick employee to go home to rest (and not infect the rest of the office).