While technically the flu can be contracted at any time of year, there is a definitive “flu season.” In the past several years, it has peaked in February, with well over twice as many cases reported as any other month. This year’s flu season is also predicted to be one of the worst in history, with data from the CDC reporting that flu activity has already surpassed that of the 2014-2015 and 2017-2018 seasons, the two deadliest in over 40 years.
Most people know the age-old advice to wash their hands and many also get an annual flu shot, but there’s much more that can be done. Companies can implement internal wellness programs, research a water cooler for sale, or encourage healthier eating at the office. And they should: According to the CDC Foundation, productivity loss caused by illness-related absences from work is estimated to cost employers $1,685 per employee, per year — or $225.8 billion.
In order to help employees stay healthy — and in the office — this season and avoid spending a ton on health and productivity loss costs as well, here are some things companies can do.
- Bring medical care to the office. Instead of hoping that employees will go get flu shots on their own, consider arranging onsite flu vaccinations. Alternatively, a rebate or other incentive could be offered for employees who do get their flu vaccine.
- Look into a bottle-less water cooler for sale. Modern water coolers such as the ones made by Arctic Coolers eliminated wasteful plastic bottles altogether. The list of benefits is extensive, including removing up to 99% of water impurities that can cause a bad or metallic taste. Better-tasting water will encourage employees to drink more often and stay hydrated. Plus, today’s water cooler for sale is much better for the environment and costs about 70% less than traditional ones.
- Promote healthy eating. Replace soda and other sugary beverages in the breakroom with healthier options such as sparkling water, and if the budget allows for it, treat staff to a healthy lunch once a month. Consider setting up a smoothie station with a fresh fruit and vegetable bowl and a top-of-the-line blender so employees can make smoothies at work.
- Encourage physical activity. There is strong evidence that suggests exercise, even in small amounts, can battle coughs and colds. Encourage employees to take a walk during their breaks or consider installing standing desks to get them moving.
The statistics on this year’s flu can be daunting, but using these tips, there are many small steps companies can take to keep the whole office healthy.