I’ve had more clients than usual reach out to me for communications related to this year’s flu season and flu prevention tips. Why, you ask? Because this year’s influenza outbreak is widespread with hospitalizations occurring in 49 of 50 states. And it’s no longer just dangerous for children and those age 65+… Now employees age 50 and older are at a higher risk for complications and hospitalizations. Read more about the severity of this year’s flu season in this article from The New York Times.
What does this mean for your business? It means those who are getting sick hold more senior roles in companies, which could lead to significant drops in productivity. Furthermore, as sick employees make their ways into work (in spite of their condition) they spread the illness among their colleagues. Productivity now has the opportunity to drop exponentially.
It’s time to pay more attention to flu season if you ask me… Follow these steps to protect both your employees and your bottom line:
- Encourage employees to get their flu vaccinations: (Yes, even this “late” in the season)
- The flu season’s peak may not have hit yet and could potentially last through May – consider hosting an onsite event to help distribute the vaccination
- It’s not just about the individual employee, it’s about everybody. If an employee claims they never get the flu, let them know that it’s important for them to get vaccinated not just for their own good, but for the benefit of everyone around them
- Remember – you CANNOT get the flu from the flu shot!
- Get more information on the flu vaccination and how to talk to employees about its importance here
- Tell your employees to STAY HOME when they are sick: (Yes – send your employees home!)
- It will reduce the likelihood that the illness will spread throughout your office
- It may reduce the duration of their illness
- If the employee has a fever, consider offering the employee a paid sick day. Many employees will reserve their Paid Time Off (PTO) for vacation. This works against the company’s best interest, however; so create a plan to get them out of the office and away from your healthy employees
- Recommend practicing basic flu prevention through educational campaigns:
- Washing hands regularly
- Coughing and sneezing into one’s elbow or a tissue
- Avoiding people who are sick – and avoiding people when you are sick
- Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth as this is how germs spread
Sound like a plan? Frenkel is ready to help with your flu-related communications and onsite event needs.