Managing COVID-19 Risk During Flu Season in Your Business
As we start the winter months, workplaces can experience the perfect storm: the continuing threat of COVID-19 converging along with seasonal flu. These illnesses will not only inflict harm on people’s health, but they could also affect your business. One study discovered that workers who go to work sick cost employers two times as much in productivity losses compared to workers who work from home. And while many businesses are operating remotely, unplanned employee absences due to illness can derail project timelines.
In the good side, the safety measures lots of people have implemented to help end the spread of COVID-19, like physical distancing, handwashing and using masks, can reduce the impact of flu season. However, it’s crucial for businesses to maintain their viral caution to help keep their workers safe as well as their business healthy.
Let us discuss a few important considerations in planning for ‘COVID and flu’ season this winter season:
Strengthen your safety protocols: You’ve read these measures in the past, however with COVID fatigue setting in, it’s vital that you do it again! Professionals say colds, flu and COVID-19 are all pass on through droplet transmission, and face mask wearing and physical distancing work against these precautions. Strengthen your existing safety protocols and still continue with the cleaning and disinfecting procedures layed out by the Public Health Agency.
Educate workers: Flu and COVID-19 involve some overlapping signs and symptoms, with the major distinction of losing smell and taste which haven’t been reported with flu. It’s possible to be afflicted with both flu and COVID-19 at the same time, and instances of co-infection have already been recorded. Educate workers regarding the symptoms for both diseases and let them know about the risks, particularly of co-infection.
Plan in advance for absences: Having both COVID-19 and influenza, businesses must plan for the chance that a huge part of their workforce might be not able to work at any particular time. Your business continuity plan must include what number of absences the business are prepared for just before operations are disrupted, and how to maintain the business functioning effectively. Discuss your company’s sick leave policy to workers and encourage them to stay at home whenever they’re sick.
Allow for remote work: Whenever we can, continue to support remote work in order to help end the transmission of both COVID-19 and flu. In case your business is working remotely, you might have realized that there are many advantages too: research has shown that whenever it’s done correctly, remote work could boost employee efficiency, creativity as well as morale. Furthermore, you’ll find financial savings of letting workers to work at home, such as savings in rent and utilities, cleaning services and also meals. Nevertheless, make sure to protect your business from any new or greater cyber exposures as distant workers include new risks.
Create a health-conscious culture: Take this chance to create a strong health-conscious culture, such as mental health. A few recommendations are: 1) Encourage workers to get workout during their workday, like a walk or run. 2) Develop an enjoyable workplace competition endorsing healthy meals or having daily steps in. 3) Be sure your supervisors constantly ask their teams not only regarding work tasks, however about their own mental health, stress levels as well as how they’re feeling. Lastly, speak health and wellness resources open to workers, like crucial benefits, free resources, and worker assistance programs.
Promote vaccines: The potential risk of co-infection is the one other reason why it’s very important for people – especially vulnerable people – to think about flu vaccines this year. Companies could support workers to get the flu shot by hosting on-site flu centers for workers as well as their families. And whenever the time arrives, employers could look at encouraging workers to get vaccinated for COVID-19.