How can a business stay productive during cold and flu season? Good question.
The Captain Obvious answer is, “don’t let any of your employees get sick.”
The General response is, “That is not likely to happen.”
Assuming the General is right, what can you do to prevent the spread of the flu and a whole host of cold viral strains coming at your team this winter?
The first step, preferably taken early in the fall, is to see that everyone gets a flu shot. The Center for Disease Control (CDC)’s new motto for businesses is, “Make Health Your Business.” Toward that end, they encourage businesses to host on-site vaccinations. Let the team spirit and the ease of access increase the number of your employees getting the most important preventive measure for cold and flu season. If that is not feasible, consider giving them paid admin leave to get the flu shot nearby. That hour of time is far less expensive than two weeks of bedridden illness requiring total non-productivity. Many pharmacies as well as hospitals and urgent care centers offer the flu shot. However, even the CDC concedes that getting the flu shot is not an iron-clad guarantee against getting the flu. You could encounter a flu virus that isn’t addressed in the viral recipe of this year’s shot, or you could be the lucky infectee of one of several potent common cold viruses such as the Coronavirus, Rhinovirus or worst yet the Norovirus. You could encounter the virus after your shot but before your body has generated sufficient antibodies in response.
Once infected, the strategy shifts from prevention to harm reduction. Send that sick employee home via the doctor. There are antiviral prescription medicines that can effectively address a flu infection, especially if administered in the first day or two of symptoms. The sick employee at home is then less debilitated, potentially capable of working from home, and most importantly, not infecting any more employees. Any stigma attached to using sick leave should be eliminated, immediately. Using sick leave when sick with an infectious disease (flu, for instance) is not goldbricking. It is an act of valorous compassion, diving on the hand grenade of infection to save everyone else in the office (or factory or store) from illness.
Speaking of hands, during cold and flu season, as at any other time of the year, the number one mode of transmission of infection (other than STDs) is via the hands – either directly (handshake) or indirectly (common touched surface). Keeping all surfaces clean is a start – an essential one – but ridding them of germs is the necessary goal of a healthy productive work environment. That is where the work of SafeHandles comes to the fore. The antimicrobial technology in SafeHandles is EPA approved and proven effective in quickly reducing the presence of bacteria, viruses, and funguses. Whether delivered to a commonly touched surface by someone else’s touch, by airborne microbes from someone else’s sneeze, or airlifted there by the building’s HVAC system, those microbes will not survive, thus unable attach themselves to your hand. And without transmission, there can be no epidemic.