All it takes is one sick employee to spread the flu around the office to cause a landslide of sick day requests and major dents in workplace productivity. Encouraging your employees to get the flu shot is a start, but if you really want to keep your office buzzing this fall, make getting vaccinated as simple as possible.
Through efforts like offering in-house shots as well as arming employees with knowledge about symptoms, you can better protect your office this flu season.
Benefits of Getting a Flu Shot
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu causes roughly 140,000 to 960,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 to 79,000 deaths annually in the United States. The CDC also reports that the flu shot is nearly 50% effective, which means those employees who get vaccinated before an outbreak may have a good shot at avoiding the illness entirely.
Of course, companies can’t require their employees to get vaccinated. They can, however, encourage employees to get a flu shot by explaining its benefits in terms everyone’s likely to appreciate: It is relatively painless, quick, often free and can help save your sick days.
Spread the word during meetings or with signs, posters, emails or texts. When your workforce realizes how beneficial flu shots are for preventing serious health complications and unwanted medical costs, they may be more inclined to give the vaccination a try.
Employers can also encourage their staff to take this preventive measure by:
Providing a list of flu vaccine locations. When employees know where to get vaccinated—especially if the location is near their home or workplace—it makes the whole thing a lot more convenient and, hopefully, enticing. Try to call out locations that take your company’s insurance. Use signs, texts or emails to relay flu vaccine locations nearby, with addresses or maps of where to go. To make compiling your list easier, use the CDC’s flu vaccine finder.
Offer free on-site flu shots. Offering flu vaccines at your workplace is something your employees will likely appreciate: It’s convenient and won’t cost them a dime or any of their personal time. If you have on on-site health clinic or wellness center, offer flu vaccines there; if you don’t, reserve a room within your building and hire a qualified health care provider to give flu vaccines at scheduled times. Spread the word about when shots will be administered so everyone can take advantage.
How to Avoid a Flu Outbreak at Your Office
Besides making it convenient for employees to get the flu shot each year, there are other ways to help prevent a workplace flu outbreak. Encourage employees to stay home when they’re ill by offering paid sick days and allow them to work from home if they’re getting over the flu. Remote work is one way to keep the virus from spreading, without disrupting workflows.
Post signs about the benefits of hand-washing, avoid positioning employee work desks right next to each other, and place hand sanitizer throughout the office. By being proactive, your business will be prepared to tackle the flu and anything else that comes your way.
For more tips about how to maximize employee health and wellness at the workplace, check out these pointers from United Concordia Dental.