Now that summer is well and truly behind us, it is time to start preparing your workplace for the winter months. Unfortunately, with the colder weather comes the risk of colds and influenza in the workplace.
These illnesses can cost Australian businesses more than $7 billion each year in lost productivity due to absenteeism, according to St John Australia. This is an estimated 1.5 million lost work days.
Fortunately, there are some simple measures and business health plans you can put in place to help protect your employees from influenza this winter.
Making hygiene a priority is one of the most efficient ways of stopping the spread of cold and flu and can be as simple as encouraging your workers to cover their coughs with a tissue and wash their hands during the day.
If you are serious about promoting healthy hygiene in your workplace, consider installing hand washing stations with alcohol-based hand sanitizers in high-traffic areas such as the kitchen, entrance way and bathrooms.
Tissues should also be on hand to help workers cover their coughs and sneezes. If a disposable tissue is not available, employees are recommended to use the inside of their elbow, rather than their hand, to cover coughs.
Take sick days
Any employee exhibiting the signs and symptoms of a cold or the flu should be encouraged to stay at home to recover. This will have two important benefits for employers – first, their recovery time should improve as they rest, and second, they will not risk infecting their colleagues and spreading the illness.
Businesses at risk of the spread of influenza are encouraged to invest in workplace vaccinations to help protect their employees' health.
Immunisation programs can be easily organised at your local GP or by inviting a mobile unit to visit your place of work.
For more information on protecting your staff from flu, or to take out a business health insurance plan, talk to the team at HICA today.