The severity of this year’s flu season has been making headlines. One recent headline focused on the impact the flu could have on workplace productivity. According to a recent news report, this year’s flu season will cost employers nearly $10 billion based on lost productivity alone1. The impact the flu has on both employee and employer health is significant, yet there are actions employers can take to help in keeping employees, and even their bottom line, healthy.
First and foremost, employers need to encourage sick employees not to come into work. We all know that illness-causing germs can spread quickly and one of the best ways to reduce their spread is to make sure those who aren’t feeling well stay home to fully recover. Also, a quick reminder, if you still haven’t gotten the flu vaccine, it is not too late. The flu vaccine is one of the best ways to help reduce the risk of coming down with the flu.
In addition to encouraging the disinfection of frequently touched surfaces and objects, like copiers and shared computers, employers should also promote good hand hygiene. Hand hygiene – handwashing with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available – is one of the most important measures we can all take to reduce the spread of illness-causing germs. Making hand hygiene products, such as hand sanitizing wipes and alcohol-based hand sanitizer, available is a great way to promote hand hygiene practices throughout the office.
In fact, a recent workplace outcome study, “Impact of a Comprehensive Workplace Hand Hygiene Program on Employer Health Care Insurance Claims and Costs, Absenteeism and Employee Perceptions and Practices,” published in The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM), found that offices equipped with PURELL® Advanced Hand Sanitizer and PURELL® Hand Sanitizing Wipesthroughout the building and at employees’ desks resulted in 24.3 percent fewer healthcare insurance claims for hand hygiene preventable illnesses. In addition, there were 13.4 percent fewer sick episodes during the study year in the intervention group compared to the previous year.
GOJO provides information and education to help promote effective hygiene this winter-germ season. Go to GOJO Hygiene Educational Tools for more information. Also, learn more about the study in JOEMand the PURELL Advanced Workforce Solution™ on our website.
 Challenger, Gray & Christmas Study as quoted in “Flu linked to record number of sick days, costing employers almost $10B” Retrieved January 30, 2018, from http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2018/01/22/flu-season-could-cost-employers-9-4-billion-this-year.html