The chorus of sniffling, coughing, and blowing noses is something that most employees dread. Knowing that someone in the office is sick is almost as nerve-wracking as the first telltale signs of a cold.
Companies are learning the benefits of having happy employees, and this—combined with the knowledge of what a cold can do to an office’s morale—means that employers should fear colds being passed around the office just as much as the employees. Given these concerns, knowing what steps can be taken to manage any potential outbreaks is paramount to maintaining general efficiency.
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A Healthy Office: Fighting the Office Bug
Whether it’s the common cold, the flu, or something more serious, sickness in the office can wreak havoc on productivity and general employee efficiency. In this infographic, we explain how both employers and employees can avoid the spread of office illness.
What Sickness Means to a Company
Health-related lost productivity time costs the U.S. economy $225.8 billion or $1,685 per employee.
71% of LPT is attributed to reduced work performance. This includes: 40% absenteeism (employees absent due to sickness) and 60% presenteeism (employees who report to work while sick).
What the Company Can Do
Offer Flu Vaccination Programs
Extremely contagious, the influenza virus (aka “flu”) typically lasts 3 to 7 days. Even after the initial bout, fatigue and cough persist for weeks after.
25% -- Employees with a flu shot experience 25% fewer upper respiratory infections than those without.
· Encourage employees and their families to get a flue shot.
· Have an onsite flu clinic.
· Pay for flu shots for uninsured employees (those covered by health insurance receive free flu shots as mandated by law as a preventative service).
Schedule Desk Sanitation Days
80% - 80% of infections are spread via contact with contaminated surfaces, not coughing or sneezing.
45% of workers occasionally wipe down their desks.
20% never clean their mouse.
46% clean their keyboard less often than once per month.
· Schedule workplace disinfection with your company’s cleaning service.
· Provide cleaning supplies to each employee to clean their workplace surfaces.
· Provide anti-germ office supplies: anti-microbial mouse pads and anti-microbial pens.
· Place canisters of hand wipes at each desk.
Encourage Sick Employees to Stay Home
When sick workers stay home:
· Workplaces aren’t exposed to the illness.
· The spread of disease slows.
· Workers recover from illness more quickly.
80% - 80% of infectious diseases are transmitted by touch.
Hand sanitizers are the best alternative to hand washing with soap, particularly in places away from sinks. A study in 2010 concluded that office workers who used an alcohol-based hand sanitizer at least 5 times a day were 66% less likely to get sick (than those who just washed their hands once a day).
Solution: Provide hand sanitizer dispenser pumps throughout the office.
· At each copier and printer
· At reception
· In bathrooms
· In breakrooms
Improve Air Quality
Many plants clean pollutants out of the air and add oxygen and humidity to an indoor environment. A NASA study concluded that Ivy and Chrysanthemums do an excellent job of cleaning the air of toxins.
Reduce Fluorescent Lighting
Natural light improves human productivity. It also reduces fatigue and stress, helping to keep environmental stressors at bay.
Benefits: Replacing fluorescent lights with full-spectrum light bulbs can:
· Improve eye fatigue
· Boost moods
· Reduce glare
· Slow retina aging
· Reduce the stress hormone cortisol
Host Regular Walks During Break Times
· Encourage your employees to get up and walk, preferably outside.
· Exposure to sunlight increases Vitamin D production in the body, which is vital in boosting immunity.
· Walks can reduce stress.
Encourage a “Work Diet”
· Eat smaller snacks throughout the day to keep alert.
· Drink water throughout the day to remain hydrated.
· Avoid caffeine, as too much can lead to energy crashes.
Copyright 2015 HALO Branded Solutions, Inc.