It is that time of year. You nonchalantly try to inch away from the man who sneezed without using his elbows on the subway. You cringe as the woman with the hacking cough stands too close to you in the elevator. It is inevitable. One out of every five Americans gets the flu each year. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), nearly 7 million workdays are lost because of seasonal influenza. This translates to an estimated $6.5 billion in lost office productivity.
With the help of our 10 tips, stop the outbreak of illness in your workplace and protect your business’s most valuable asset – your employees.
|1. Make sure that employees are keeping their desks clean.
According to a recent study conducted by the University of Arizona, people touch approximately 30 objects per minute in their workspace. Provide your staff with proper sanitation supplies such as disinfectant wipes to sanitize all of the items on their desk.
|2. Champion the benefits of the annual flu shot!
According to the CDC, this is the most effective way to prevent the spread of the flu. In fact, a basic flu shot or nasal flu vaccine can reduce the likelihood of healthy employees contracting the flu by 90%.
|3. Host or provide transportation to a vaccination clinic.
Make it easier for your staff to get the flu shot by organizing a mobile clinic to visit the worksite so that employees can visit during office hours. Providing transportation to a clinic in the area might also be helpful.
|4. Update health insurance policies.
Revisit the company’s health plan and make sure that it covers flu shots.
|5. Educate your staff.
The best flu-prevention tactic is educating your employees about how viruses and germs are spread. Provide information about the importance of getting the flu vaccination. Hang up posters in the break room or put flyers in employees’ mailboxes with information or advice on how to maintain a clean and healthy work environment.
|6. Implement flexible leave policies and consider telecommuting as an option for sick employees.
So many employees are worried about getting behind in their work or using up sick days.
It is relatively easy for people to work remotely on tablets, laptops, or other mobile devices. The important thing is to remind and encourage people to stay home when they are sick.
|7. Promote and encourage frequent hand washing.
Approximately 80% of all infectious diseases are spread by touch. Post signs reminding employees to wash their hands in all areas with sinks. Place hand sanitizers and hands-free soap dispensers in all appropriate places.
|8. Encourage employees to practice safe hygiene.
This should include cough etiquette and the benefits of keeping your hands away from your mouth, nose, or eyes. Providing your staff with boxes of facial tissues and trash bins for easy disposal will help to make this practice easier.
|9. Stock the break room with healthy choices.
Providing your employees with break room supplies such as bottled water and healthy snacks may help them fight off the flu.
|10. Hire a cleaning service that uses effective cleaning products and techniques.
Make sure your janitorial service is thoroughly cleaning all common areas with the proper equipment, such as super-absorbent microfiber mobs and also that they are using an effective disinfecting solution.