Flu Season: Reason for Concern

Every year about this time, we start seeing family and co-workers become ill with influenza. The flu is a rite of passage for many of us. A few miserable days home in bed followed by several days of the blahs. But what are the implications to a business’s bottom line?

Based on government health statistics, American employers get 70 million “I’m home sick with the flu” calls annually, costing an estimated $10 billion in sick leave.

And did you know some become ill and don't recover? The Center for Disease Control estimates that about 36,000 people die from complications of the flu, usually the oldest and youngest among us, and those with health conditions.

Because the flu is spread through common interaction, as an employer you need to think of ways to protect your employees from a potential bout, and ways to prevent a flu outbreak in your workforce

Knowing how to fend off the flu is not complicated. In fact, a coworker, Peter Koch, sent along a great website link that offers Flu 101 reminders on symptoms, incubation period, and hygiene tips to combat it: Influenza Season Is Upon Us.

Employer Tips for Fighting Flu Outbreaks

  • Offer free flu shots during work hours. Vaccination is the best line of defense against the flu.
  • Enhance nightly cleaning during flu season.  
  • Provide boxes of tissues in work areas and hand sanitizers in bathrooms. 
  • Investigate if hands-free automatic faucets make sense for your business.
  • Advise employees to stay at home when they’re sick.