Help Employees Fight the Flu this Season

 In Human Resources, Management, Operations, Small Business

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are many reasons for small businesses to encourage flu vaccinations this season. In fact, there are 17 million of them. The CDC estimates that the flu is responsible for 17 million workdays missed each flu season. Additionally, it estimates that the flu costs $10.4 billion a year in direct medical expenses and an additional $16.3 billion in lost earnings annually.

That’s why many companies both small and large recognize the need and value of offering a flu shot program. According to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans’ 2017 Workplace Wellness Trends survey results, 83 percent of U.S. respondents provide free or discounted flu shots.

Recommended Strategies for Businesses and Employers

Employers need to get the word out to inform employees about the necessary steps to take to prevent the spread of influenza. Helpful tips experts suggest posting and explaining to employees are:

  • Effective hand washing methods
  • Proper cough and sneeze hygiene, including covering your mouth and nose with a tissue
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes
  • Get enough rest
  • Avoid close contact with sick people
  • Stay home when you are sick

Additionally businesses can consider hosting a flu vaccination clinic in their workplace. Providing an onsite season flu vaccination, especially at a low cost or no cost to employees can help minimize absenteeism. You can work with your PBM to set this up or local pharmacies and community vaccinators can be contracted to provide flu vaccination services.

Tips for Success

Whether you decide to offer onsite or offsite services, getting employees to participate is of foremost importance. To get buy-in and have success, the CDC makes these recommendations:

  • Promote flu vaccination with posters, social media, and email blasts with Save the Date Reminders.
  • Ask supervisors to allow employees to attend the clinic during their workday without needing to go off the clock.
  • Offer flu vaccinations to employee’s families.

Want to learn more about this flu season?

  • Check out how the CDC helps businesses and communities
  • For 2017/2018 flu prevention tips and flu facts, follow @CDCFLU on Twitter
  • Visit the CDC’s flu prevention issue of Business Pulse
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