I’ve been hearing a lot of speculation lately on whether attending HVACR industry events, such as the AHR Expo, are in any way beneficial. While I, and many of the contractors I’ve spoken with, do believe they are important to attend, there are some downsides. Specifically, shaking all those hands.

No matter how careful you are, germs tend to spread like wildfire when you have huge events attended by people all over the country – and some international visitors as well. I visited one manufacturer’s booth where they were pooling cough drops to share among themselves. Needless to say, I forewent the handshakes during that visit in favor of a polite head nod.

Despite this, sickness chased us home to Michigan. One-by-one, my coworkers have been dropping like flies. Last week, as I lay in bed with a fever, I was extremely thankful that my company allows us to work from home during times of illness. However, not every company allows its employees to work from home. Some only allow a certain number of sick days a year and some don’t pay employees for taking time off because of an illness.

It’s a dilemma that the White House is addressing. Last year, President Barack Obama signed an executive order requiring federal prime contractors to offer one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours of work. The order must go through a public comment period and will only apply to new federal contracts starting in 2017.

I’m wondering what kind of policies HVAC contractors have in place? What best practices do you employ to keep your staff healthy and not overworked? Submit a comment below or contact me at nicolekrawcke@achrnews.com