When Financials and Flu Season Collide

Myrtle Beach is a beautiful place to live year round, including the fall and winter months. While many come to the beach to rest and relax, our local utopia is not immune to an occasional flu outbreak. Inevitably, the timing of the flu often occurs during tax season. Like us, many small businesses often struggle with the following: should a company recommend that employees “push through” to help clients, or recommend staff “stay home” at the first sign of an illness?

In addition to operational management, each employee has their own answer to the age-old question: “How sick is too sick to go to work?” Some staff members believe that a company should adopt “daycare rules”; others firmly believe in “mental health days”; while there are still others who would conduct business from their hospital bed!

To guide our team of accountants, below are some practical ways that we have incorporated the government’s disease control guidance:

  1. Flexible Scheduling – Our firm is known for providing staff members with flexible scheduling, even during tax season. With approval, staff members can often re-orient their schedule so that they can obtain the rest they need to overcome an illness. Due to our flexible working environment, staff members may not need to use any hours of “sick leave.”
  2. Sick Leave & Policy – As a benefit for our team members, we differentiate between sick leave and vacation leave, and provide employees with both for each full month after two months of full-time employment. Our accommodating sick leave policy has very flexible verbiage. While employees are expected to communicate absences to their VP (boss) when “reasonable”, absences due to sickness are permitted year round including tax season.
  3. Remote Access – Technology is a wonderful thing; particularly as it pertains to sick leave. If no meetings or field work is required, our CPAs often have remote access to the tools they need to complete the job, even when sick at home.
  4. Flu Vaccinations Reimbursed – If an employee chooses to obtain a flu vaccination, our company offers to reimburse out of pocket cost.
  5. Flu Prevention Kits – In addition to our First-Aid Kits, our establishment has also created “Flu Prevention Kits” for each office. Those kits include supplies such as hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, surgical masks, and gloves. Staff members are encouraged to use these supplies to prevent illness.
  6. Preventative Measures for Common Areas – We also provide preventative measures for common areas, such as alcohol-based hand sanitizer, disinfectant, etc.
  7. Communication – Email communication has been provided to remind staff of disease prevention resources.
  8. Quarantining & Cleaning – Staff members are encouraged to utilize the firm’s sick policy, remote computer access, and flexible scheduling if they are sick, especially with non-medicated fever or serious stomach virus issues. When not possible, our company asks that sick staff respect other team members by using all flu and other disease spreading prevention resources available, including but not limited to closing their office door (with VP approval) and cleaning their hands before touching papers and common area surfaces.

While these ideas may not work for all companies, they have certainly helped our accounting firm promote a healthier and more productive business during illness outbreaks. Perhaps your work environment can implement a few new tools to increase effectiveness within your human resource standards. Meanwhile, you can be assured we are working to keep Smith Sapp CPAs a healthy stop for all clientele and employees.