Presenteeism (coming to work while ill) is estimated to cost employers more than $150 billion per year.

We’ve seen estimates that $10 billion in lost productivity is a result of people working less effectively while suffering from flu in the workplace.

Providing and encouraging flu shots is one step to take to help reduce flu among our workforce.

Here are 5 more steps to take to intelligently manage the risk that this year’s flu outbreak can have on your crew:

1) Make it clear to your employees that coming to work sick is not acceptable. Infecting coworkers is not a “Yay team” moment.

Presenteeism- Yay, team- NOT!!!

2) Safety first- instruct employees to use medications that do not cause drowsiness. If the warning says do not operate equipment, that means if you are taking that medication, don’t come to work!

3) Instruct your janitors and housekeepers to use virus killing products on publically shared equipment– copiers, microwaves, refrigerators, etc.

4) Provide disinfecting wipes so employees can minimize their (and their co-workers) exposure.

5) Communicate! Explain to your team- supervisors and crew leaders especially- about the risks  and costs of flu and the need to not bring it to work. Sit down with your HR people to figure out how to intelligently manage this for your shop.

The average flu related absence  lasts almost three days- do you really want that first person to come in and spread the flu and cause loss of work to the balance of your team?

It is 2012. We can figure this out.

It’s a difficult balancing act to promote attendance while discouraging presenteeism…

It’s a difficult balancing act to promote attendance while discouraging presenteeism.


Balancing act

Business influenza information abounds. But what is authoritative?
The media is flooded with all kinds of stories about the Swine Flu /2009 H1N1 Novel Influenza. Our email boxes are being filled with all kinds of rumors, myths, and offers regarding this possible ‘pandemic.’
We’ve looked at a lot of sites, and a lot of resources. The workplace  planning tab at looked like a great all in one place resource for manufacturers like us. But following a link there led me to and  I think that this is the one H1N1 influenza resource that you need.

Here's a 'Tool You Can Use!'
Here's a 'Tool You Can Use!'

Besides technical disease information and precautions, here are some of the ideas  from this site that employers should be considering if the H1N1 outbreak occurs this year.

  1. Prepare for increased numbers of employee absences due to illness in employees and their family members, and plan ways for essential business functions to continue.
  2. Advise employees before traveling to take certain steps
  3. Prepare for the possibility of school dismissal or temporary closure of child care programs
  4. Consider increasing social distancing in the workplace and canceling non-essential business travel
  5. Make sure your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance, and that your employees are aware of these policies.
  6. Make contingency plans for increased absenteeism caused by illness in workers or illness in workers’ family members that would require them to stay home. Planning for absenteeism could include cross-training current employees or hiring temporary workers.

More ‘Tools You Can Use’ include:
Born before 1957? Interesting article HERE.
For training materials including powerpoints and spanish language materials try here
OSHA has an easy to read explanation of what a pandemic is and other resources for employers and employees.
OSHA guidance on preparing our workplaces
The ability to anticipate and intelligently manage risk is what separates the great managers from the wannabes. These links help you with your preparations.
Have you reviewed your  sick leave, cross training, and other policies in preparation for the upcoming influenza season?