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Flu season has been in full swing since December, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the number of cases typically peaks in February. The CDC estimates an average of 5% to 20% of the total population gets the flu each year and more than 200,000 people experience symptoms so severe they require hospitalization.

Not only do you need to keep your staff healthy to remain productive, you also care about them and don’t want them to have to suffer through the flu. Learn what steps you can take to prevent this illness from working its way through your office.

5 Tips to Keep Your Staff Healthy During Flu Season

Keep Your Office Clean

Stock up on disinfectants to kill flu germs before they can spread around your office. Regularly wipe down common surfaces — door knobs, tables, coffee makers and copy machines — and encourage employees to keep their desks clean. Give each person a bottle of hand sanitizer to keep on their desk and make other disinfecting agents readily available.

Send Sick Employees Home

If any of your employees come to work exhibiting flu-like symptoms — fever, chills, cough, sore throat, etc. — send them home immediately. Don’t allow them to come back to work until these symptoms have been gone for at least 24 hours.

Promote Frequent Hand Washing

Many people may not realize they need to wash their hands with hot, soapy water for a full 20 seconds to remove germs. Post signs above all sinks explaining proper handwashing hygiene and make sure a bottle of antibacterial soap is placed next to each basin.

Encourage People to Get a Flu Shot

Getting a flu shot won’t make employees completely immune to the flu, but it can significantly decrease their chances of falling ill. According to the CDC the vaccine can reduce a person’s risk of contracting the flu by 50% to 60%, which is pretty significant.

Lead by Example

You can’t expect your employees to follow the rules if you’re not willing to do so yourself. Set a precedent by pitching in to keep the office — and your own work area — germ-free, staying home when you’re sick, practicing good handwashing hygiene and getting a flu shot. When you lead by example your employees will take you seriously and follow suit.

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