When the seasons change, organizations take a hit with employees calling in sick left and right. It’s easy to catch a bug when working around large groups of people. Depending on the building’s layout, ventilation system and tidiness, there are many variables which contribute to everyone’s health.
According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, the flu epidemic is unpredictable but tends to show its face and effect in the fall. When the weather starts becoming colder, people start spending more time indoors. People in close working environments tend to eat lunch at their desk and take less breaks, hoping to avoid the chilly weather outside. Some say the best solution is to simply ‘take more breaks & do less work’. This approach is not the solution that most employers were looking for but, it may actually have some merit.
To work to maintain productivity and healthy workers, here are some tips to prevent catching the flu or any other illness in the workplace.
- 1. Vaccination.
When it comes to the flu, getting vaccinated is generally seen as the most effective precaution one can take. The flu has been evolving and changes from one year to the next. It is important to get the vaccine every 12 months to protect yourself from the most recent form of the flu. Most workplaces have free vaccination organized for the employees. The more people who are vaccinated, the less likely the flu will spread.
- 2. Stress
Another way to prevent illness is creating an active and stress free environment at work. Offices that involve regular physical activity increases the immune system and decreases stress. Moderate physical activity for at least 20 minutes a day or intense activity for 30 minutes a day can make a big difference. Having positive relationships with coworkers also decreases stress. Outside variables such as cigarette smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise also affect a person’s stress level and general well-being.
The Cost of the Flu on Business
Sick leave is a financial issue that every organization has to deal with. It is extremely costly to pay for employee who take the sick leave. The flu alone costs businesses $10.4 billion in costs. Even employees don’t want to take the sick leave as a recent study conducted in Australia shows that on average, 88% of employees who attend work whilst sick are less productive.
Work and Injury
Work-related injuries are common and a threat, whether you work in an office or on a building site. In Western Australia alone, roughly 68,500 people experience a workplace injury in the past year. Interestingly enough, most injured workers are men. Workplace health and safety programs are common among all businesses to prevent these injuries from occurring. These programs remind employees of hazards and ways to prevent illness and injury. Keeping office exits and nearby traffic zones clear decreases the chance of a future workplace injury from occurring. These guidelines should be implemented into a workplace health and safety program.
One of the most effective ways to prevent illness and injury in the workplace is forming a clean and organized environment. A clean office place can also give a professional image that serves its occupants. Organizing clutter at workstations can create a more productive environment. In reverse, lack of dusting can lead to airborne dust and in return, ignites allergy symptoms in workers.
To maintain cleanliness and in extension a healthy environment, professional movers can be brought in to move or take away large, heavy objects like furniture or boxes. Having surface cleaners at hand motivates employees to clean up after spills and crumbs. Common areas are hot spots for germs and can easily be safe by cleaning regularly. In some instances, it is best to leave these large and detailed jobs in the hands of professional cleaners.