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the list of those most at risk:
Working While Sick
Forty-seven percent of Americans who have the flu stay home less than two days even while acknowledging that three days is appropriate, according to an August 2013 poll on workplace hygiene and knowledge of the flu that Staples Advantage conducted with 316 office workers and 137 facility managers.
Not wanting to fall behind in their work was the main reason most respondents (45 percent) gave for returning to work early when they were sick, according to the poll. However, productivity slips when a worker is under the weather.
“Flu season poses a big problem for businesses; each year it causes an estimated 70 million missed workdays and billions in lost office productivity,” said Lisa Hamblet, vice president for facility solutions at Staples Advantage, in a news release. “It’s critical that both employees and employers take notice and promote healthier habits.”
Workplace strategies that organizations can use include those as simple as giving employees individual hand sanitizers or placing sanitizers in common areas; encouraging ill workers to stay home, and having supervisors model that behavior; and discouraging desktop dining. Fifty-seven percent of people surveyed know that flu viruses can survive on a hard surface for up to three days; yet, 66 percent clean their desk once a week or less. The good news: That’s up from the 51 percent in 2012 who said they wipe down their work area weekly or less often.
Other flu-prevention tactics employers could consider include making free or low-cost
onsite vaccinations available, updating restrooms to include
touch-free features, providing paid sick leave, and offering—and encouraging—telecommuting when appropriate.
Flu Resources Page, SHRM Online Safety and Security
Severe Flu Season Raises Questions for HR,
HR News, January 2013
Health Culture Shown to Improve Employee Performance, SHRM Online Benefits, September 2013
SHRM Online Safety & Security page
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