As wintertime approaches, so does flu season. Unfortunately, this can result in employees contracting the flu and calling in sick to work. The flu virus is a major contributor to employee absenteeism, and this absenteeism can become a substantial cost for employers. Corporate flu clinics might just be the answer to keeping your employees healthy throughout flu season.
What is Influenza?
Influenza (also known as the flu) is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs. It is caused by two types of viruses: Influenza A and Influenza B. The flu virus can be picked up by touching contaminated surfaces such as phones, doorknobs, and hands, and can be spread by talking, sneezing, or coughing. It’s no wonder we take precautions like continually washing our hands, avoiding touching our face, and most-importantly, getting the flu vaccine.
Flu Related Employee Absenteeism
When someone in your workplace contracts the flu, it typically takes one to seven days to partially recover and come back to work. Symptoms don’t usually appear until 1 to 4 days after an individual has been exposed to the flu virus. So, even before your employees experience flu symptoms, they may still be contagious and at risk of spreading the virus to other employees.
Absenteeism is a major contributor to lost productivity and revenue for Canadian organizations, with an average rate of absenteeism at 9.3 days per full-time employee. It’s estimated that the direct cost of absenteeism is 2.4% of gross payroll. Although there can be other reasons for absenteeism, the flu is a major contributor.
Workplace flu clinic programs help reduce flu-related employee absenteeism and lost productivity by offering a convenient method of maintaining a healthy, flu-free work environment.
Companies that Offer Flu Clinic Programs
In order to offer flu vaccinations, companies must submit an application to the government and follow stringent policies and procedures. For example, vaccinations must be administered by certain regulated health professionals, and there must be a designated fridge set to a specific temperature for storing the vaccinations, with additional safeguards in place. It doesn’t make sense for your everyday organization to go through this intensive process, so companies usually hire third party organizations to come into their workplace and administer flu shots.
These third party organizations may run their flu clinics differently from one another, but a good flu clinic program offers participating employees:
- Vaccinations from a licensed Nurse
- Information regarding the benefits/risks of the vaccination
- Questionnaire, consent form, and immunization record card
- Educational information regarding influenza signs and symptoms and how to stay healthy during the flu season
- Complimentary goodies like snacks, or a bottle of hand sanitizer
Cost of Flu Clinics
You’ll be surprised to learn that flu clinics don’t need to break the budget either. The competitive pricing for flu clinics is less than $10 per employee vaccination. That’s right – for less than $10 per employee, you can keep your company running smoothly during what’s usually the busiest time of the year. This cost is usually covered completely by the employer as incentive for their employees to get the vaccination at no charge.
Benefits of Workplace Flu Clinic Programs
Having a flu clinic program at the workplace provides the following benefits:
- Convenience and easy access: Individuals may be reluctant to get their flu shot after work hours, whether it’s due to forgetfulness, procrastinating until the season is over, or any other reason. When offering flu clinics in the workplace, it has been shown that a higher percentage of employees get their flu shot.
- Tracking: Allowing employees to get their flu shot in the workplace also means that as an employer, you can track which employees have gotten their flu shot. Knowing how many employees are at risk for getting the flu can allow organizations to better plan for absences and use precautionary measures where needed.
- Reducing absenteeism: When employees get the flu shot, they become less likely to contract the flu. This means that fewer employees take time off work due to being sick, which reduces absenteeism and in turn improves productivity.
Offering flu clinic programs helps ensure that your office will remain productive during the fall and winter months. To learn more about our flu clinic programs and the other corporate wellness services that we offer, visit our Corporate Wellness page.