Coughing, sniffling, and fevers can be a common occurrence in the workplace when flu season strikes in Canada. Not to mention the 2016/17 flu season has been one of the worst in a decade. There’s no reason to worry though, because you can protect yourself and your employees with a few simple tips.
Here are 5 effective ways to combat the flu in the workplace.
- Schedule an On-Site Flu Vaccination Day for Employees
Preventing flu and its proliferation in the workplace can easily be managed with something as simple as a flu shot. Vaccination is actually on top of the list when it comes to stopping flu in its tracks, according to the Center for Disease Control. Unfortunately, most employees get too caught up with work and other things that they simply can’t find the time for a flu shot.
Make getting a flu shot more convenient for people in your office by hosting a flu vaccination day. There are various organizations you can get in touch with that will gladly set up an on-site vaccination clinic in your company’s premises so your employees have one less thing to worry about. Contact community vaccinators or local pharmacies and check if they can administer the shots once you have scheduled the date.
2. Make Getting Off-Site Flu Shots Easier
If you can’t schedule a flu vaccination day at the office, at least make an effort to provide your employees with options to easily get vaccinated off-site.
Ensure that your company’s health plans cover flu vaccinations for employees. There may be free flu shots being offered by various clinics in your community, but it still pays to provide this coverage to your employees. Give the information your employees need as to where and when they can have flu shots in your community. Provide them with a list of clinics, driving or commuting directions, and whatever information they may need so they can schedule a visit during their free time.
Be flexible enough to allow some time for your employees to have their flu shots even while at the office. Sure, you’ll be sacrificing a little time, but you’ll be quite thankful you did if the flu virus strikes and everyone else is complaining about employees not being able to work or productivity levels going downhill fast.
3. Promote Basic Hygiene in the Workplace
Something as simple as practicing basic hygiene helps in preventing the flu virus from spreading in the workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has some tips regarding to prevent sickness from spreading in the office, and it would do a lot of good if you make it a point to post these in company bulletin boards or send a list to employees via email:
- Keep hands clean by washing them with soap as often as possible
- Avoid unnecessary touching of eyes, nose, or mouth
- When sneezing or coughing, cover the mouth and nose areas with tissue or a handkerchief. When using a tissue, make sure to throw it immediately after use.
- Wash or sanitize hands each time you sneeze, cough, or after blowing your nose.
- Minimize contact or hand-shaking with coworkers when the flu virus strikes.
- Avoid sharing of equipment such as headsets, computers, phones, etc. between coworkers.
4. Literally Keep Flu Out the Door
Keeping the flu virus out is easier than dealing with it when it starts to spread in the office. When one of your employees has the flu, encourage him or her to utilize allocated sick days. Better yet, ask them if they could just work from home. It’s much better to have a single employee miss work for a couple of days rather than have the lot of them missing for a week or two.
If missing work is definitely out of the question for an employee, ensure that he or she avoids too much contact with coworkers and does not linger in high-traffic areas of the office.
There’s no need to take drastic steps such as setting up a quarantine zone, but it makes sense to have the sick employee avoid his or her desk to prevent others from catching it as well.
5. Keep the Office Well-Stocked
When the flu virus hits, make it a point to stock up on the necessary supplies that can help your employees protect themselves. A good example is to place hand sanitizers in areas where there is high contact among coworkers. Having hand sanitizers where employees have easy access to can make a difference in maintaining basic hygiene.
About 5–20% of people in the Canada become sick with the flu annually, but your employees need not become part of this number. Ensuring that you take the necessary steps will help your employees stay productive and healthy.
To see how Humi can help you track those sick days book a demo here.