Sniffles, sneezes and runny noses in the office — cold and flu season is upon us. While flu symptoms typically last five to six days, it’s possible to be contagious for a week after symptoms appear, which is why the flu spreads so quickly in the workplace.
Employees are the most important resource for any business, but about 1.5 million workdays are lost per year in Canada because of the flu. The cost of healthcare and loss of business productivity results in about $1 billion annually. Below are five steps to prevent the spread of infection, keep employees healthy and improve absenteeism during cold and flu season:
1. Remember prevention is key. Remind your employees to get their seasonal flu vaccine.
2. Promote hygiene etiquette. Encourage preventive actions, such as covering one’s mouth when sneezing and washing one’s hands often with soap.
3. Implement flexible sick-leave policies. Encourage sick employees to stay at home without fear of judgment or repercussions.
4. Provide proper resources. Place tissues, no-touch garbage cans, and hand sanitizers around the office.
5. Book a workplace flu clinic. Hosting an on-site workplace flu clinic is a simple way to encourage employees to get vaccinated. Spectrum Health Care provides an easy solution — they supply the vaccines, help promote the clinic within your organization, and provide a nurse who administers the shots on-site.