When one of your employees gets sick with the flu, you expect one of two things to happen. Either the employee calls in sick and stays at home, eventually infecting family members or the employee comes to work sick, eventually infecting most of you in the office.
The first scenario makes for absenteeism; the other, presenteeism — and neither is good when it comes to the health of the employee, those around them, the business, and even the entire Australian economy.
Here’s the cost of flu to the Australian economy and the businesses and what can be done to prevent these impacts from happening.
The Cost of Flu to the Australian Economy
The flu season is as sure as winter. It’s a fact of life. Somehow we expect it to hit us every year. It’s so common that people have grown complacent about this highly contagious viral illness. Some even though it wasn’t worth going to the doctor to get checked.
As a result, in 2017, during one of the worst flu outbreaks ever documented, the deadliest outbreak Australia has ever experienced, the country took a major hit. The sick population was massive, hospital admissions skyrocketed, and businesses suffered with around $114.6 million worth of lost productivity.
The Cost of Flu to Businesses
The influenza virus is known to spread in the workplace, with one in every four employees infected each winter. If an employee gets infected, it takes up to 72 hours before the symptoms are noticeable, giving the virus ample time to spread to colleagues and family members.
The unfortunate employee would then take a leave of absence for up to five days, but this could impact that person’s work productivity for up to two weeks until they recover from the illness.
It has been reported that for each sick employee, an average business loses $600 in work value. Imagine the great loss if the virus has spread the entire work area.
All this to say that the flu season is something that businesses should take into consideration when planning for the year.
What’s Next: Plan for Flu Vaccination Program 2019
To avoid business disruptions that negatively impact the bottom line, something must be done to avoid the widespread of the virus.
Vaccination is still the best way to do this. Getting the flu shot is the most vital thing you can do for yourself, your organisation, colleagues, family and the wider community.
As mentioned earlier, it’s possible to spread the flu for three days before you start to feel the symptoms. So it’s important that everyone in the workplace gets the shot.
Thinking of having a flu vaccination program in place? Here are some great reasons why you should have one.
- Vaccination reduces the risk of sickness in healthy people by 70% to 90%
- It lowers cases of absenteeism by 30%
- It promotes a healthy workforce
- By doing this, you are showing your company’s commitment to employees’ health and wellbeing
- It lessens the work disruption
- It helps maintain optimum productivity levels
- Getting the company to shoulder the vaccine expenses helps ensure that everyone takes advantage of it
Steps to Motivate Employees to Get Vaccinated
Employee buy-in and engagement are very important factors in order for an organisational change or any business endeavour to become successful. Not everyone might agree to every initiative, but they don’t have to.
Your aim is to get their support by developing a message that resonates with them, communicating the change effectively, and making vaccination easily accessible to them.
Let’s take a look at the three points.
Develop a Message that Resonates
When creating an overarching message for your vaccination campaign, think about what’s important to your employees. What would make them stop in their tracks and consider getting a flu shot?
Effectively Communicate and Educate Your Workforce
When it comes to internal campaigns, managers often lack the means to relay the message in a way that educates and convinces their teams. Often they focus on the ‘what’ (flu) and the ‘how’ (get vaccinated) and completely miss out on the ‘why’ (the risks and their impact).
It’s also important to note that what they previously know about the flu comes from the loud people on the internet that know very little about it.
That’s why once you’ve established your message, use your communication channels to promote the campaign.
Ensure that your flu vaccination campaigns come with materials that will communicate your message. It could be a video that explains the ‘why’, eye-catching posters, thought-provoking DMs, and other campaign merchandise.
These materials will help ensure that your employees are aware of the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to flu. You can then communicate the impact of getting vaccinations and let them know who they can approach for more information.
Provide Convenient Access to Vaccination
Vaccination prevents up to 3 million deaths every year globally. To ensure that people are getting the shot, organisations need to make sure that it is both convenient and easily available to them.
To do this, consider hosting an on-site flu shot campaign to increase the engagement among your staff.
Vitality Works: Your Partner in Putting Your Employees’ Safety and Wellbeing First
Australia has seen the cost and the damage the flu virus has caused; it’s indeed something that we should not be complacent about. It has cost employees their health, it has cost businesses their revenue, and consequently it has cost the economy millions of dollars in lost productivity.
It’s time to put a stop to complacency. Start thinking about what your business can do prioritise your employees’ health and wellbeing. Start planning for this year’s flu season. Contact us to find out more about what a flu vaccination program will mean for your business.
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