Flu can be a big disruption for business. Employees who are sick may need to take time off to recover and may not be as productive when it comes to getting work done. In addition, symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, and fever can spread germs to healthy employees.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu activity in the U.S. most commonly peaks in January or February. As we move into the winter months, keep in mind the following everyday preventive actions that can help prevent flu and the spread of germs in the workplace.
Cover Your Mouth and Nose
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Flu viruses are thought to spread mainly from person to person through the coughing, sneezing, or talking of someone with the flu.
Avoid Touching Your Eyes, Nose, or Mouth
Flu viruses also may spread when people touch something with flu virus on it and then touch their mouth, eyes, or nose. Routinely clean frequently touched objects and surfaces, including doorknobs, keyboards, and phones, to help remove germs.
Clean Your Hands
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Make sure your workplace has an adequate supply of tissues, soap, paper towels, alcohol-based hand rubs, and disposable wipes.
Stay Home When Sick
Employees should be encouraged to stay home from work when they are sick to help prevent others from getting ill. If there is only one employee who performs a particular task, consider training others so that coverage is available should that employee need to leave work early or stay home due to illness.
For more information and resources to help fight the flu in your workplace, visit the CDC's web page on Seasonal Flu Information for Businesses & Employers. You can read more about employer sick leave policies in our section on Voluntary Leave—Sick Days.
Are you ready for key Health Care Reform provisions taking effect over the next two years? Be sure to download our FREE guide, Health Care Reform: What to Expect in 2013–2014, an excellent resource for keeping your business on track with compliance.
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