Over 111 million sick days claimed! How you can prepare now to prevent the flu

Some states are already reporting cases of the flu, an upper respiratory illness that can lead to millions of workdays lost to illness (over 110 million according to the CDC). Be proactive and start now to help prevent this productivity-killing illness.

Educate your employees on how germs are spread, what the signs of the flu are, and what to do to avoid getting sick. This includes properly washing hands, wearing masks, avoid shaking hands and touching the face, cleaning off workstations, avoid sharing food, drinks and utensils, eating healthy, and drinking at least eight glasses of water a day. Encourage employees to stay home if they are exhibiting flu-like symptoms.

Provide appropriate supplies to help employees stay healthy. This can include disinfecting wipes, surgical masks and hand sanitizer.

Hold a flu shot clinic. Educate your employees on the importance of the flu shot and how it can help. Offer incentives or discounted shots. Often just the convenience of getting a flu shot at work is enough for many employees to decide to receive the shot.

Post appropriate signage, advising on the symptoms of the flu and reminding employees to wash their hands often. Encourage employees to avoid shaking hands whenever possible and avoid touching their faces to prevent spreading germs.

Clean daily. It’s important to disinfect workstations, bathrooms and break rooms daily. Your cleaning company should help you with this. Talk to them today about keeping these high-use areas disinfected.

Encourage preventative health by implementing competitions, rewards programs, or newsletters to advise on new healthy recipes, exercise and healthy eating. If that seems too much or too overwhelming, try posting simple posters that encourage employees to get enough sleep, meditate, try new foods, and exercise. Assign one employee or a small group to take charge of encouraging healthy habits.

Keeping healthy and flu-free doesn’t have to be complicated. Start now and start small to help employees stay happy and keep sick days to a minimum.

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