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Flu Season has arrived…Is Your Office Prepared?

October marked the traditional start of flu season. According to SHRM, nearly 111 million workdays are lost due to influenza annually. For employers, this adds up to approximately $7 billion in costs – not to mention loss in productivity. You want employees who will do just about anything to get the job done. But do you really want them showing up to work sick?

In fact, 31% of employees will show up to work sick because they think their boss will appreciate it. 40% feel that their workload keeps them from staying home to rest (2014 Staples Flu Season Survey). Your employees want the best for the company, so they work through their symptoms, despite Human Resources’ reminders to stay home when ill. Approximately 80% of employees admit they come into work when sick.

Taking sick days may negatively impact the company but so can working while sick. While you can’t necessarily stop your sick employees from coming into the office, there may be some ways to keep the germs from spreading this flu season. Here’s how:

  1. Increase employee health education. Educate employees on proper hand hygiene and cough etiquette, remind employees to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth, and recommend a six-foot barrier between each other to avoid spreading germs. One study shows that it only took four hours to contaminate over 50% of the workplace and about half of the employees
  2. Give the office a clean slate. Place tissues and sanitizer throughout the office and remind coworkers to wipe down all germ-prone surfaces. According to Kimberly-Clark Professional, these are the most common office surfaces with high levels of contamination (ordered from highest to lowest):
    • Break room sink faucet handles – 75%
    • Microwave door handles – 48%
    • Keyboards – 27%
    • Refrigerator door handles – 26%
    • Water fountain buttons – 23%
    • Vending machine buttons – 21%
  3. Promote a healthy lifestyle. Emphasize the importance of staying physically active, getting the proper amount of sleep, practicing healthy stress management, and eating a well-balanced diet filled with lots of fruits, vegetables, and water.

Water is essential for overall health, especially when flu season hits. In the workplace, proper hydration not only keeps employees healthy, but can also boost productivity.

Many common health complaints can be alleviated by drinking the daily recommended amount of water. One study found that those who drank just three glasses of water a day were five times more likely to get a blocked nose or sore throat than those who drank eight. So why are employees avoiding a simple and natural way to fight off the common cold and flu?

  • Taste – Without proper purification methods, water can taste moldy, stale, dirty, “funny”, and just downright gross. Workplace water should consistently taste pure, fresh, and clean – not just first week the water supplier changes the filter.
  • Quality – The quality of your drinking water could be gross due to polluted delivery method. Water fountains and taps can harbor bacteria when not properly cleaned. This leads to contaminated water with poor taste, funny color and impurities.
  • Experience – Is the office drinking water easy to reach or do your employees have to walk down the hallway, past the front desk to sip from the fountain or fill up their water bottle? Is the water already cold, or do your employees need to add ice? Do employees have to place their mouths near a germ-infested water fountain or fill up from a filtration system that hasn’t been cleaned in weeks?

It is important to address the water taste, quality, and experience in your workplace – as water quality could be hindering employee performance or increasing sick days. With flu season well on its way, it’s crucial to assess your company drinking water now before it impacts company productivity and ultimately the bottom line. Let Pure Water Technology help. Request a free water quality test to see what could be hiding in your workplace water. The results may surprise you. 

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