While the past several months of lockdowns, restrictions, lay-offs, and uncertainty have exhausted everyone, the COVID-19 pandemic has not negated the threat of other illnesses. Unfortunately, influenza is still a risk, and businesses everywhere will need to stay on high alert for this seasonal contagious contender. The average flu season begins in October and subsides by April, reaching its peak between December and February/March when outside temperatures are at their lowest and indoor occupancy is at its highest. As this year’s COVID-19 pandemic collides with flu season, you must take increased measures to protect your employees, customers, guests, and bottom line.
Here are some tips for keeping your office building flu-free this winter.
Although the annual flu vaccine doesn’t guarantee that recipients will avoid getting the flu, it significantly reduces one’s risk of contracting the disease and decreases the number of severe cases overall (meaning fewer hospitalizations). The more individuals who get their flu shot, then, the less of a threat it becomes. If you want to keep your workplace well-guarded against the flu this winter, remind your people to get vaccinated -- businesses with enough resources may even provide flu shots in their office building. At the very least, provide your employees with information regarding flu shots, where to get one, questions regarding cost and insurance, etc. to reduce friction and encourage more vaccination.
Flu shot reminders aren’t the only reminders to disseminate in your office building -- while you’re at it, point out the importance of maintaining best health practices both inside and outside the workplace, including but not limited to:
To keep these concepts top of mind, you might post signage throughout the building, hold regular meetings regarding these best practices, send informational emails and links to all employees and managers, and so on.
Most businesses have been squeezed tight this year, and the road to recovery will likely be a long one. As such, the thought of your people staying home rather than working can be frightening. However, it is crucial to keep potentially sick employees away from others, especially during this year’s one-two-punch of COVID-19 and flu season. While your bottom line may take another short-term hit, consider the cost of a widespread flu outbreak in your workplace -- better to have a handful of employees stay home for a bit than to shut down your office entirely. Indeed, encouraging sick employees to stay home is one of the best ways to keep your workplace flu-free and protect your business in the long-run.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu viruses primarily spread via droplets from sneezing, coughing, or talking. These droplets may transmit directly from one person to another, or when someone touches a surface that has been infected by these droplets and touches their mouth, nose, or eyes. In order to minimize the risk of flu transmission, then, increase your office cleaning and disinfection efforts this winter. High-touch surfaces like doorknobs, keyboards, and countertops should be sprayed with disinfectant and wiped down on a regular basis. You may consider hiring disinfection services to keep your work areas sanitary throughout the day, and/or to perform deeper cleaning and disinfection at scheduled intervals.
Every business should develop a comprehensive flu prevention program to keep its people safe this time of year. At The Budd Group we offer all the services and resources a facility needs to do just that. In addition to carefully examining a facility and taking note of its most commonly used and shared spaces and surfaces, we also make suggestions for in-house staff and offer educational programs for all managers and employees so everyone in your workplace knows about the flu and how to best avoid contracting or spreading it.
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