Each year, millions of Americans get sick with the flu and the workplace is no exception. From coughing and runny noses to sneezing and sniffling, you’ll soon hear these sounds throughout the office as flu season approaches. While some of these symptoms may look similar to the common cold, these could also be signs of the flu which can lead to a workplace epidemic.
One way to prevent workplace sickness is by shifting the focus to workplace health and vaccinations. There are numerous benefits of flu shots for both the employer and employee. In this blog, we will discuss the benefits of flu shots, eligibility, as well as how you can promote vaccinations in the workplace.
What is the Flu?
The flu, also known as influenza, is a respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. The severity ranges from mild to severe, but can sometimes lead to death. The flu is different from the common cold because it sometimes occurs suddenly. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting an annual flu shot.
Common symptoms of the flu include:
- sore throat
- runny or stuffy nose
- muscle or body aches
Flu Shot Eligibility
Due to the severity of the illness, it is recommended that anyone 6 months or older, get the flu vaccine. The flu can be extremely severe for people with chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or asthma, people over 65, pregnant women, and children under 5. Even if you do not fall into any of these categories, getting a flu vaccine will prevent spread and hospitalization for others.
Benefits of Flu Shots
There are many reasons to get a flu shot each year in order to protect yourself and your employees from getting sick. Some benefits of flu shots include:
Reduce absences due to sickness
- When an employee becomes sick, there is the risk for spread leading to absences of the employee and those they infected. A flu shot can reduce absences due to sickness and related doctor appointments.
Prevent illness and risk of hospitalization
- The overarching goal of the flu vaccine is to prevent the severity of the illness and risk of hospitalization for children and adults. According to the CDC, the annual flu shot prevents tens of thousands of related hospitalizations each year.
Boost employee retention and satisfaction
- Prospects and current employees want to work for companies that care about their wellbeing, health, and safety. One way to improve your organization’s employee retention is by establishing a workplace health program. Often workplace health programs can include vaccination programs, nutrition programs, and access to an on-site nurse for work-related injury and illness. With a workplace health program in place, employees feel more valued and satisfied.
Encourage healthy workplace behaviors
- Workplace health programs involve promoting a company culture that actively encourages health and prevention of illness through vaccination. Offering your employees the ability to get flu shots on-site sends the message that you care about them and are taking action to reduce the spread. Organizations should also establish healthy workplace protocols such as hand washing, sanitizing, and other guidelines during flu season. Healthy workplace behaviors are especially important for industries where hygiene is critical such as food service, manufacturing, and healthcare.
- When an employee is absent there is a clear loss of productivity for the days that they’re out sick. However, the cost of presenteeism is just as high. When an employee is sick but is still working, it can lead to underperformance, loss of productivity, costly mistakes, and even safety concerns. By encouraging workplace flu shots, you are improving health and productivity across the company.
From absenteeism and productivity concerns to safety risks and financial loss, there are many business concerns that flu shots can eliminate. If you’re looking to improve your organization’s health through the implementation of a workplace vaccination program, contact the team at OnSite Health today.