10 Ways to Prepare Your Office for Flu Season

Preparing your office for flu season is essential in maintaining a healthy workforce throughout the fall. It's estimated that 5-20% of the population gets the flu every year, leading to 111 million workdays lost to influenza.

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Take a stand and take back your office productivity this fall by being proactive about flu protection.

Educate

It's been said that knowledge is power, and I couldn't agree more. Knowing the dangers of the flu and the details about fighting it can help your employees stay one step ahead.

1. Educate employees about influenza. Focus on busting those all-to-common flu myths. Your workforce should know the characteristics of the flu, the safety of the vaccine and how they can actively stay healthy.
2. Educate employees about insurance. Your insurance policies become extra important when people are more likely to get sick. Be sure employees know that the flu shot is covered by insurance, and where they can go for more coverage information.
3. Educate everyone about policies and practices. This includes everyone from the CEO to the part-time interns. Be sure everyone is familiar with your sick leave, PTO and telecommuting policies. If you have to, revamp these policies to make them work with your company culture.

Communicate

The flu needs to be talked about. It's important to be just as strategic and prepared to communicate about your employees' health as you would be about any other business task. Take the time to prepare your thoughts and spread the word about influenza.

4. Develop a communication plan. You need an effective way to discuss the flu with your employees. Have a plan to talk about hygiene and flu myths, as well as to spread your educational materials.
5. Identify tasks and strategies. People will get sick during flu season. If they do, make sure you have a strategy to avoid work pileup. Sometimes it's best to identify a flu coordinator to deal with delegating tasks and finding coverage for sick employees.
6. Maintain flexibility. Your employees might be sick, their children might be sick, and people from other companies you work with might be sick. Where flexibility is possible during flu season, use it. Odds are, you'll need it.

Activate

Education and communication are weak without the ability to move your workforce into action. Take steps to ensure your employees are healthy during flu season and all year round.

7. Improve hygiene practices. Don't be afraid to set rules for common areas, provide extra hand sanitizer, avoid shaking hands and encourage employees to stay home if they feel ill.
8. Deep clean the office. Your desk phone, the water fountain, your keyboard, the coffee pot and pretty much everything in the break room can get really germy. Clean your office well, and clean your office often.
9. Aid healthy habits. Fighting the flu is much easier when you're healthy overall. Healthy habits are easier to come by when you feel enabled. Take the time to enable your employees to build an overall healthy lifestyle by integrating health into your office design.
10. Host a worksite flu shot clinic. The CDC stands behind the fact that the flu shot is the best way to combat the flu. Providing the vaccine at work is incredibly convenient and can help you ensure your employees actually get the shot. It's also a great way to show your employees you care about their health.

Flu season is just around the corner. Don't wait until the first case appears to take action. Be proactive and get your office prepared for flu season.

Are you ready?