Surveys have found that employees who come to work when sick can be incredibly costly. In an average year it is estimated that flu can cost as much as $10 billion in lost productivity.
The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the average employee will miss 2.8 days of work due to the flu- and those employees who come to the office while ill, increase lost work days from 10% to 30%.
Sick employees not only increase the chance of the rest of the office catching the cold/flu, but have a negative impact on productivity. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that absenteeism costs employers $225.8 billion annually and according to the Harvard Business Review, employees coming to work sick cost employers 60% of the total cost of worker illness.
With costs, productivity, and the high likelihood of illness spreading, it’s time to consider how to protect your employees during cold and flu season.
To prevent the spreading of flu and cold germs in your office, here are 5 ways to tackle those germs.
1. Offer On-site flu Shots or Provide Vouchers
As MBL has shared in the past the importance of vaccines, providing on-site flu shots for employers is your first line of defense of combatting illness. By bringing the solution in-house employees will be more likely to get vaccinated.
2. Provide Sanitation Products
Having sanitation and cleaning products at the office is key. Have a section where office supplies are housed that include disinfectant wipes, keyboard cleaners, and hand sanitizer. Having these products can kill any germs living on office surfaces, which will spread any illness or germs.
3. Encourage Employees that if they are sick to stay home
Employees come into work despite feeling unwell because they feel they have too much to do or feel another cannot cover for them for the day. Additionally, some employees come in because they do not want to use sick or vacation time. These feelings can create a work culture where missing work due to sickness is unacceptable. Be sure to make clear to employees that when they don’t feel well they should stay home and take care of themselves.
4. Regular Office Cleanings
While having sanitation products in the office is a good step, having people actually clean their workspace is another. Germs can hide in many places of the office. If you have a communal kitchen in the office, remind employees to wash communal dishes in hot, soapy water. Another way to encourage cleaning is to host an office-wide cleaning hour where everyone cleans down their desk and personal items. If you have a professional office cleaning team, ask if they can emphasize cleaning communal areas such as kitchens, break-rooms, or supply rooms.
5. Printed Reminders
Sometimes employees need an extra nudge. Create small printed signs that remind employees to clean dishes in warm water, wipe down their desk and keyboards, or even to sneeze into their elbow versus their hands. Small reminders can go a long way in keeping an office healthy.
While flu and cold season are in full-swing you can implement these small changes in the office to prevent further spread of germs. Helping your employees stay healthy and encouraging to take care of themselves will be beneficial to everyone at the office.
Healthy Employees are Happy Employees!