Every year organizations get countless calls of employees calling in sick due to symptoms caused by the flu. The flu is a huge strain on businesses, causing substantial workplace absenteeism, an increase in paid sick days and lost productivity.
- Approximately 7.5 million workdays are lost to the flu in Canada annually.
- On average, people with the flu miss 3 to 5 workdays.
- If they come to work with the flu their productivity drops by 50 percent.
- People who work with people who have the flu also experience a drop in productivity.
People often have the best intention to go get the flu shot; however due to time and accessibility often don’t get it. One of the best ways to prevent sick days and productivity loss is to encourage employees to get the flu shot each year. To make that even easier to do many employers host a flu-shot clinic onsite. This is a cost-effective option and makes it accessible and convenient for employees, increasing the number of employees who get vaccinated, creating a win-win situation for all.
If you have a small business and not enough employees to run a full clinic, an idea may be to partner with another small local business in your building or neighbourhood. Other options may be to offer employees reimbursement for the cost of the vaccination or paid time off to go get vaccinated at a clinic. On top of employees remaining flu free, they will also appreciate the concern for their well-being.
One of the main concerns we hear is “I can’t afford to be sick and stay home from work”. If employees do end up getting the flu, encourage them to stay home when they aren’t well. Providing employees with paid sick days helps to maintain a healthy workplace as people will choose to stay home and not bring more germs into the workplace, making others sick as well. Nip that vicious cycle in the bud! If you don’t offer paid sick days, look at alternative ways for the employee to make up the time off such as using vacation, taking a shorter lunch or working a longer shift when they are back.
Remind employees of these easy health and wellness tips:
- Get the flu vaccination.
- Wash hands often and thoroughly with soap and warm water or use hand-sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Wipe down your work station and common areas frequently – including doors, phones, keyboards and other office equipment.
- Cough and sneeze in your arm or sleeve.
- Keep doing what you normally do, but stay home if sick.
Engaged HR Assignment: Look for ways to make the flu vaccination easily accessible for those that want it to help prevent the spread of the flu in your office. Pay attention and if you see someone coming to work obviously sick, send them home!