A man blowing his nose while covered in a white blanket sitting in a bed

Being Clear About Employee Health Policies

Among the frequently asked questions with which new employees familiarize themselves, workplace health policies can be the most popular and misunderstood subjects. What, for example, qualifies as sick? Is an employee expected to work remotely when ill, and if so, what types of tasks are they expected to complete? Is there a minimum limit to how long a sick employee must stay at home? What does it mean, after all, to be subject to a policy? 

A man blowing his nose while covered in a white blanket sitting in a bed

What Do Employee Health Policies Consist Of?

As much as the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the volume of said questions, the interest in them has been around long before catastrophes, and in any workplace, these policies often convince interviewees whether or not they want to work in a certain environment. According to America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), a trade association in D.C., 56% of employees said that health policies are a positive factor influencing their staying at their workplace.

Illnesses can, of course, come in different forms. As society fits more mental health topics into its conversations, employee health policies are no longer targeted at just physical illnesses. If it severely impacts an employee’s well-being or, even, incapacitates her, then it can be considered a threat to health. The utmost consideration to take to heart is that employee health policies are about ensuring trust in safety.

Can Certain Conditions Alter Health Policies?

Employee health policies vary based on company size, the number of workers, and the number of resources needed to implement them. Still, there are a few standards that policies are expected to follow. For instance, the CDC recommends restricting vices in the workplace, referring to cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs. Keeping the environment clean helps keep attention on work tasks; this promotes safety, as well. The CDC also recommends allowing time for exercise or breaks. 

As an example, Google prides itself on its welcoming company culture where employees can play Ping-Pong, relax, and further innovation. Too much work leads to weakened immune systems. However, with sizable breaks in between long shifts, employees go about their routines with renewed vigor. 

What if somebody has a sore throat? What if another worker has the flu? Do the same standards apply to both workers, or does Worker One have to work remotely while Worker Two stays in bed? The best practice is to let people rest while they are sick. People are not at their top performances when they feel terrible. The work they might complete is bound to be redone once they are back to normal. At best, it could take a couple of days for the illness to go away, and at worst, it could take a week and a half. Employee health policies cause this all to not come as a surprise. The better the preparation, the better the flexibility.

Health Policy Clarification

It may seem a contradiction, but employees who benefit from these policies advance the company’s interest. One of the good things about policies is that they show signs of a bond between associates and managers, IT teams, and CEOs. Duties change, but the rules stay the same. That system goes over much better than the one that follows. In other words, it survives because it is built on a foundation of accuracy (“details, details, details,” as journalists say).  Employee manuals consist of strict wait times.

That brings up a good point. Having multiple sources of information lessens the chances that somebody misinterprets the policy. Common reminders in use at workplaces are the hand washing signs taped to bathroom mirrors. Many places opt not to hang signs and instead get creative with their requirements. As long as the policies appear, the responsible employees need to follow them. 

Another idea, though not strictly a better one, is the introduction of a signed acknowledgment form. It’s a bit like how HIPAA policies control their circles of viewers. In these cases, the form fits beside the time-off policy and the meeting schedule, and afterward, any changes to the policy feature in discussions with the whole company.

How Can We Help You Succeed?

Now, taking a look from afar, employee health policies are not much different from other rule sets. So why, in that regard, should you have Essential Data help you to create this policy? Where employees might struggle to complete both their regular work and the new project–after all, there are so many hours in a work day–the Essential Data technical writing team will put all their focus into making the policy as clear as possible. Clarity is the goal for our technical writers; it is a language that they speak instinctually, as they have trained and put in real practice for years to be able to write out the simplest things. In their work, complexity remains in the final product, though tempered and palatable. On reviewing any policy, a layman should understand it.

 When we are discussing consequential content like health policies, the tiniest detail ought to be identical to the rest,  with no word able to be taken out of context. So, there is no copy-paste process to Essential Data’s work routine. We treat every project as a unique opportunity to both test ourselves and exceed our clients’ expectations. We would love to help you organize a policy, or two, that works to better your employees’ satisfaction and well-being, and we promise to work within your parameters and meet your standards, whatever they may be.

Whether you need a team of consultants to produce a complete line of documentation or a single technical writer for a brief project, Essential Data’s Engagement Manager will lead the project from start to finish. At Essential Data Corporation, the quality of our work is guaranteed. Contact us today to get started. (800) 221-0093 or sales@edc.us

Written by Will Boswell

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