Everyday an employee is out on sick leave is a day of lost productivity for the company. And this issue
gets exacerbated by employees coming into the office sick and then spreading their germs around which
of course just compounds the absentee issue. So instead of one or two employees out sick you have 10
– 20 depending on the size of your organization and this all adds up to a lot of lost productivity.
Projects get put on hold – customer meetings get delayed and in general employee sick leave is one of
the biggest performance hits on US business to the tune of billions of dollars.
Sick leave is also a random occurrence – like vacations employees don’t plan for sick leave. With a
sudden departure of a key employee their workload has to suddenly get distributed and as Murphy law
seemingly always dictates employees get sick at the most inopportune times. This might mean missed
commitments or initiatives that have to be delayed.
Costs of Sick Leave
The costs of sick leave is not only in the work the employee misses but the stress other employees can
feel because they need to take up extra work to make up for lost productivity. And this can hit all
departments from HR to Sales and Marketing. Hourly employees for example may have to work extra
schedules and this always has a downstream effect on personal life as well.
Coronavirus and the New Realization
When COVID-19 hit, and more and more people started to become infected with the contagious disease,
most workplaces had to shut down. If there is a positive side of this virus pandemic is that organizations
like the CDC along with states and local jurisdictions started to strongly advise and even require
companies, as they start planning for a return of employees, that they implement systems to check for
the health of the employee before that employee gets to the workplace.
And this realization that protecting employees from human viruses is as important (and likely more so)
then protecting computers from digital viruses which we have done for decades is starting to take hold
in corporate america. The impact of this growing realization to protect employees from human viruses
will have a direct impact on reducing sick leave which in turn will likely have a significant return on
increasing company performance.
Measures to start protecting their employees at the workplace include:
Perimeter Protection Technology
When one thinks of firewalls you envision the digital method of keeping “bad things” away from
computers – this is what is starting to happen to company virus protection for employees. Companies
are implementing technology through advanced screening questionnaires that employees submit
before arriving to their workplace.
This human virus “perimeter” technology drives the process for getting companies to a 100% response
rate, captures contact tracing data, office ratios and general people operations. Perimeter technology
can also help companies continuously set expectations for employees about health and safety at the
Many governments (local, state) have given businesses the green light to take employee temperatures
before allowing them into the workplace. Temperature validation can also be handled by an electronic
questionnaire by asking the “temperature question.”
By now we are all used to the “hygienic normal” since many organizations such as the World Health
Organization and CDC have passed guidelines to prevent the spread of infections in the workplace. This
includes keeping common surfaces that are shared by employees clean and maintaining the general
hygiene of the workplace. PPE is the other big bucket of protective measures that we have all become
Perimeter virus protection combined with general hygiene measures in the workplace are really starting
to change the game for Human Virus protection. The long term winners here are both employees and