3 Ways to Keep the Flu Away From Your Workforce

17 Dec

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Beginning every fall, a personnel management challenge rears its ugly head – influenza threatens to debilitate a company by sickening many members of its workforce.

To defend against the virus, employers need to take a proactive approach to preventing its spread.

Here are 3 ways a human resources department can defend a company from the flu:

1.    Education

The first step is to educate employees about symptoms of the flu and how the disease is transmitted.  No one likes being sick and the more employees know about influenza the more they can avoid activities or practices that may lead to it.

2.    Isolation

Companies should encourage employees to stay home if they’re sick and offer flexible work arrangements such as telecommuting to prevent the spread of the flu.  We’ve all experienced that awkward hand shake with sick employees and wondered if it would affect our immune system.  Help prevent the spread by avoiding these encounters and remember to keep plenty of hand around.

3.    Vaccination

HR managers should promote vaccination, as it is an important step to preventing the seasonal flu. If possible, arrange to have flu shots provided to your employees in the workplace. In addition, most large chain pharmacies provide flu shots without an appointment and people can also visit their primary care physician to receive a shot.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that flu activity commonly peaks in the United States in January or February and can occur as late as May. It is not known exactly what this year’s flu season has in store, but the CDC says that it is likely that the 2009 H1N1 virus, or swine flu, will continue to spread in 2010 and 2011 along with other seasonal viruses throughout the season.

Does your company offer free vaccination against the seasonal flu?  If not, it might be an inexpensive and thoughtful perk to provide to employees that could lead to increased productivity in the fall.

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