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Have policies and procedures in place

Make sure you have come up with and shared with employees how sick days are to be handled. Track absences. Let employees know the parameters of sick days.

Write an operations manual

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Spell out detailed job functions and responsibilities and how they're handled, so that others know how to fill in for a sick colleague.

Train understudies

Be sure employees are trained so that they can cover for each other.

Have contingency plans

Work out what-if scenarios ahead of time so you aren't left scrambling.

Consider other work arrangements

If employees are feeling too sick to work, they should be off. But if they are under the weather and still feeling able to work, consider remote work arrangements, or taking up a corner of the office where other workers will not be exposed.

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Involve employees

Include employees in brainstorming discussions about creating policies. That will create greater buy-in.

Special to The Globe and Mail

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