The threat cold and flu season poses isn’t something to sneeze at. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Influenza (flu) causes U.S. employees to miss approximately 17 million workdays and an estimated $7 billion a year in sick days in lost productivity.
Feeling nauseous yet? If you think there is nothing you can do to ward off the flu, think again. As cold and flu season continues to bring coughs and sniffles, here are four simple ways to keep the employees in your office healthy.
Let’s be honest, no workspace will be completely germ free, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ignore the issue. A small investment into disinfecting agents can go a long way this flu season; products like hand sanitizers, antibacterial soap, and other disinfecting agents on hand can often pay for itself by stifling the early onslaught of germs. Encourage your employees to focus on cleaning surfaces most easily infected with cold and flu germs such as their office telephone, computer keyboard and mouse, and other commonly used areas.
Good health practices – such as drinking plenty of water – keep your body strong and ready to fend off cold germs and the flu virus. However, water fountains in the workplace can be dirty, but providing water bottles as a company gift could help ward off those germs – also, think of the environmental benefits!
Flu shots are the most effective way to prevent the spread of influenza at work. Contact your local hospital to see if they provide on-site flu shots or consider reimbursing some or all of the cost for employees to get a shot on their own time. Encourage employees to get a flu shot by hanging a poster in the breakroom and providing information about local clinics that offer free flu shots if you cannot host an on-site clinic.
Studies show that getting enough sleep is essential for a healthy immune system and that insufficient sleep or poor sleep quality is associated with a lowered immune function. So that means you should catch enough zzz’s at night instead of binging “The Office” for the fifth time. Sleep is definitely a deterrent you and your employees need to prevent the cold and flu. So encourage a flexible schedule with employees and encourage them to stay home if they are feeling ill.
The start of the dreaded cold and flu season is inevitable. But taking these four steps will prepare your employees for a happy and healthy winter.