Has the flu started going around your office yet? It’s not too late to get vaccinated, and because the flu can have such a big impact on the workforce, employers should get involved in stopping its spread. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the flu is responsible for millions of workdays lost each flu season, not to mention the health risks people face when they catch it.
Here are several ways you can play a big role on the front lines of fighting the flu.
By Promoting Vaccination
While the fall is often seen as the best time to get a flu shot, flu season runs from October to May, so now is still a good time. The flu shot is one of the most effective ways to prevent people from catching the virus. Work with your benefits provider to offer free or reduced-cost vaccines, and communicate the importance of prevention when it comes to stopping the spread of the flu.
By Debunking Myths
While vaccination has become routine in many areas, there are still a lot of misconceptions about the flu vaccine. Some people may avoid getting vaccinated because they think it may put them at higher risk for getting the flu, or that it’s simply better to come down with the flu rather than deal with getting a vaccine.
These kinds of misconceptions can lead to flu spreading at your workplace, so it’s important to communicate clearly about the benefits, risks and side effects of the vaccine. Your benefits provider is likely to have communication materials that highlight the advantages of getting vaccinated, or you can use materials from the CDC to educate employees.
By Being a Partner
One of the best ways to make it easy for employees to get vaccinated is to host a vaccination clinic. If you have an on-site clinic, work with the provider to determine the best timing and communication approach to get the most people to participate.
If you don’t have an on-site clinic, local pharmacies or clinics may be willing to partner with you to hold a vaccination day on- or off-site. In either case, promoting a clinic shows employees the importance of getting vaccinated, and makes it easy for them to do so.
By Being Flexible
While vaccines can cut the risk of coming down with the flu, there are plenty of other viruses floating around this time of year. If your company culture makes employees feel like they must come to work even if they’re sick, you could unwittingly be helping viruses spread.
Ensure your company culture makes it easy for people to take the time off they need to rest, recover and care for sick family members during flu season. Employees who aren’t feeling good aren’t going to do their best work, so their output will be affected even if they still come in. A generous sick-leave plan can help keep people productive in the long run.
Winston Benefits is an HR solutions company that helps businesses enhance and optimize employee benefit plans, enrich compensation and rewards programs, and save money on benefits communication, enrollment and administration. Contact us to learn more.