Flu Expected to Keep More Workers Home

Oct. 15, 2014

Survey shows a decrease in employees coming to work sick.

With the yearly arrival of flu season, the health of occupants becomes a chief concern not only for safety but productivity reasons. According to the annual Flu Season Survey by Staples, even though 88% of managers encourage sick employees to stay home, 60% say they go to work anyway – 40% say there's too much to do and 31% believe their manager appreciates it when they're sick but still present. The study's authors are quick to note, however, that this is a decrease in workers reporting that they attend work while sick from the past five years.

The survey also found that recent virus outbreaks are affecting occupant behavior, with 53% saying they'll take extra precautions to protect themselves against the flu and other illnesses this winter and 70% reporting that they have some involvement in cleaning their personal workspaces.

After separately surveying facility managers, it was found that only 7% correctly named the break room as the most germ-infested area in facilities. Only 43% believe they're responsible for promoting the health of building occupants during flu season. 

The survey recommends three steps to stop the spread of germs and help eliminate the lost productivity caused by influenza infections: 

1) Provide appropriate sanitation supplies – The survey found that employees would like to see more attention paid to sanitation, with hand sanitizer in common areas, sanitizing wipes on every desk, and touch-free restroom features mentioned as specific changes occupants would like to see made. 

2) Offer telecommuting options – Over 20% of respondents say they come to work while sick because they don't believe they could do their work at home. By implementing a telecommuting option, employees are able to continue productivity without contributing to the spread of potentially dangerous pathogens. 

3) Keep sick occupants home – The survey noted that productivity drops to under 60% of norm when employees are sick – hardly a useful level to accomplish tasks. The study's authors urge supervisors to encourage employees with the flu to stay home and take the necessary time to recover.

Looking for more ways to keep your facility clean, sanitary, and safe from the flu? Check out Flu Prevention Tips for Commercial Building Cleaning Professionals

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