Thank you to Pam Lavallee, RN Charge Nurse at HealthWorks for Northern Virginia, for this blog post!
4 Ways to Keep Your Employees Healthy During Flu Season
Did you know office desks have been found to be 100 times dirtier than a toilet seat? No wonder germs spread so fast at work!
With cold and flu season upon us (flu season runs from September to May, peaking December through January), it is more important than ever for business owners and office managers to help prevent the spread of viruses and promote a healthy working environment.
Here are some actions you can take to keep your employees healthy during cold and flu season:
1. Encourage employees to get the flu vaccine. According to the CDC, the best way to avoid getting the flu is to get vaccinated. The flu vaccine creates antibodies to the four most common strains of influenza. Flu symptoms include rapid onset of fever, headache, body aches, cough, and fatigue. The vaccine is recommended for anyone six months and older and is effective about two weeks after it has been administered. The flu shot is a dead/inactivated virus, so you cannot get the flu from getting the shot.
2. Remind employees about the importance of hand washing. Hand washing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of many types of viruses in all settings—your workplace included.
3. Encourage employees to sanitize their workspace and common areas. Today’s open offices provide more opportunities for sharing germs through open cubicle systems, break and meeting rooms, and shared telephones and printers. To cut down on the number of cold and flu germs that are passed from one co-worker to another, remind employees to sanitize shared equipment and common spaces frequently this time of year. And, encourage employees to regularly wipe down their desk, keyboard, and phone (including their cell phone) with disposable disinfecting wipes.
4. Encourage employees to stay home if they have the flu. The CDC recommends that workers stay home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have respiratory symptoms and a fever of above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Employers should revisit paid time off and sick leave policies with employees and remember to always lead by example. Employees will follow management’s lead: If the boss comes in while ill, they will, too.
Please take with time to protect yourselves, families, and friends from the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a vast amount of information available online here.
– Posted by Pam Lavallee, RN Charge Nurse
Want to Learn More?
– Join Our Committee! The Chamber’s Health & Wellness Committee is a dedicated group of local professionals with a passion for wellness! We spearhead the Annual Healthy Business Challenge and equip chamber members with important health-related information and valuable wellness resources. Our goal is to engage employers, convey the importance of wellness in the workplace, and cultivate a thriving, healthy community. Come see what we’re all about – we meet on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m. at the chamber office.
– Be Informed. Interested in creating a culture of wellness within your company, but not sure where to begin? Sign up to receive our Healthy Tips & Tricks emails. You’ll also receive updates for upcoming events, the Healthy Business Challenge, and the latest committee news and happenings. You can also find us on Facebook and LinkedIn!
– Join the Challenge! The Chamber’s Healthy Business Challenge is for everyone! No matter your company size, you can be recognized for your wellness efforts! The award will garner you company exposure on the chamber’s Web site, in eNewsletters, and in local newspapers. Not to mention, the placard and physical award are great for PR and employee recruitment! The 2016 Healthy Business Challenge will begin in January – stay tuned for updates!