2018 was a deadly flu season in Texas. Last year, more than 6,000 people died from pneumonia and influenza between Oct. 1 and March 16 according to the Dallas News. Flu season averages as many as 100 million lost workdays. Two-thirds of those are usually paid sick time, which could amount to $10 billion dollars of production value from the U.S. workforce, according to SHRM. How do you, as an employer, protect your business from the flu?
Occupational medicine is dedicated to keeping workers healthy throughout the year, and flu season is a great time to check in on your team with your occupational medicine provider. There are a variety of ways in which occupational medicine can help you keep business going in 2018-2019.
- Offering your team the flu shot
- Teaching flu safety procedures to your team
- Educating your team on the need for a sick day
One of the biggest things you can do is offer your team a flu shot.
While flu shots are sometimes debated for their efficacy and safety, offering the flu shot to your team is a great measure towards preventing the flu. Many Americans each year take the flu shot, and when the strain of flu is correctly predicted, it can protect. Additionally, the flu shot, in Experience Life magazine, is equated to taking your immune system to the gym. If you offer the flu shot to your team, they are not required to take it, but many will, improving your team’s chances of evading this deadly illness.
Occupational medicine can also teach flu safety procedures to the team.
While many of us take flu safety procedures for granted, these simple actions can make a huge difference in the health and well-being of your team. A reminder of the proper procedure or a vocalization of the efficacy can make a difference in application.
- Cover your face when you sneeze or cough
- Wash your hands frequently
- Sleep well, avoid stress, and add exercise and healthy eating to keep your immune system healthy
Finally, an education in the highly contagious nature of the flu and support for sick days from you, the employer, can do quite a bit to keep your team healthy.
Employees are increasingly hesitant to take a day off, even when they are ill. One in four employees in a recent survey said they would have to be hospitalized before taking a day off. Nine out of 10 admitted to coming in to work ill. These employees are the ones who will spread the virus among the team. Even if they don’t take off, their productivity, and that of the team, is damaged. It is up to you, the employer, to encourage your team to take sick days and to lead by example. If you are sick, take the day and let your team know.
This flu season, keep yourself and your business healthy by partnering with your occupational medicine provider.