Flu season officially began at the start of this month, and with two pediatric deaths and thousands of confirmed cases already reported, officials predict a severe flu season. The best course of action for anyone attempting to avoid the flu is to get a flu shot, but as an employer, how can you encourage your employees to get one?
The most effective way to keep the flu from spreading in your office is to offer a flu shot clinic for your employees. While it will take an investment of time and money up front, flu shot clinics have been proven to pay off and actually save companies money in the long run. Let’s take a look at how offering a flu shot clinic can benefit your company and your employees this flu season:
The flu is an extremely contagious virus that rapidly spreads, especially among those that work in close quarters with one another. It was recently confirmed that the flu is an airborne virus and droplets dispersed in the air through coughing and sneezing can remain active for hours. To put that in perspective, one infected employee can sneeze and potentially infect anyone who breathes in the air surrounding them for hours after they have sneezed.
While covering your coughs and sneezes and wearing masks can help prevent the spread of the virus, nothing is as effective as a flu shot. This is why it’s so important that your employees take the flu shot seriously.
Once the flu has spread around your office, it can affect your office’s productivity in major ways. In 2017, it was estimated that the flu cost employers $21 billion in productivity. Whether a sick employee comes to work and spreads the virus or stays at home and reduces productivity, the flu will cost your company.
The effectiveness of flu shots can vary year by year depending on how good the match is between the active viruses and the vaccination, but according to the CDC, in general, the flu shot reduces your chance of getting the flu by around 40-60%. Fortunately, this year, the vaccination appears to be a good match for the active virus, meaning the effectiveness of the flu shot will likely be towards the higher end of that percentage.
You might be concerned that your employees won’t take the flu shot seriously, but studies show that the convenience of getting the flu shot at their place of employment makes it more likely that employees will get vaccinated. In fact, the CDC reports that an average of 85% of employees get the flu shot when it’s offered by their employers. When you offer a flu shot clinic at your workplace, you make it easy for your employees to prevent the flu from spreading.
If you’re convinced hosting a flu shot clinic is the right choice for your company, then it’s time to get started with the next steps. Here’s our advice for making sure your flu shot clinic is a success:
The first step in hosting a flu shot clinic is to find a pharmacy that can offer the shots on-site at your office. The best option is to work with your pharmacy benefits provider as they will likely be able to offer the most affordable or even free shots to your employees covered by their plan.
Consider the most effective way to communicate important information to your employees. Do they notice flyers in the breakroom? Are they likely to respond to email event invitations? Be sure to advertise the flu shot clinic and stress the importance of getting the flu shot.
It’s important to make it easy for your employees to take advantage of the flu shot clinic. This might mean working with managers to make sure employees are able to take a few moments out of their day to go to the clinic. Work with managers in advance to schedule times that work best for each department.
Some employees might misunderstand the importance of getting the flu shot, especially if they are healthy and have never been severely affected by the virus. Information is key, so make sure to inform your employees about herd immunity and how anyone who is able to get the flu shot doesn’t just protect themselves, but others as well. It’s also important to encourage employees to make sure their families get flu shots at their doctor’s office or participating pharmacy.
At ProAct, we pride ourselves on offering high-touch service to help you maintain a happy, healthy workforce. We work one-on-one with our clients to help them set up flu shot clinics, and we’d be happy to help you as well. Feel free to reach out to us today to learn how to get started.