First come the chills, then the body aches, sore throat, cough, fever and then the inability to muster the strength to get out of bed. Sound familiar? Every year the US sees more than 3 million cases of the flu. One of the main reasons there are so main incidents of the illness is the ease of which it spreads from person to person.
The workplace is one of the most common settings for the rapid spreading of the flu. Many people in a small space sharing resources and equipment. Not to mention the even tighter spaces most people are cramped into during their morning and evening commutes. If one employee gets sick, the likelihood of another catching their bug is pretty high. However, there are ways to contain the rapid wildfire affect of a sneeze on the run.
To prevent an office epidemic you can encourage employees to get their flu shots. Although the vaccination does not prevent all types of flu it will minimize the severity of the illness should it strike. Encouraging employees to attack the flu head on and stay at home until they have recovered is a great first line of defense.
Below we share 4 key strategies to keep the flu at bay in your office:
1. Support Your Employees – Ensuring your employees feel comfortable about staying home when they are under the weather is key. Creating a flexible work environment will let your team realize “its okay” to stay home to recover from an illness.
2. Cleanliness – Keeping the office clean and disinfected will ensure illnesses are confined to the ill. As we mentioned in a previous post here, making sanitation and hygiene products available is vital. Not only do they kill germs living on office surfaces, but they also eliminate the spread of illness.
3. Educate – Always be sure to communicate when there is an illness spreading through the office. This will keep employees on high alert and give them the extra little nudge to wash their hands and keep surfaces clean. You can also send out employee communications with reminders such as how to avoid spreading germs around the office.
4. Back-up Plan – Having a coverage strategy in the event employees are out will further encourage them to stay home when they are ill. Delegating responsibilities will also mitigate any potential bottlenecks from someone missing their daily work.
Regardless of your approach to keeping a healthy work environment, unfortunately sometimes its inevitable that the flu will strike. Having reinforcements available, whether extra tissues and hand sanitizer or a back-up plan in place, will help expedite the road to recovery for your employees and the company.