Insureon Blog

Fight the Flu to Keep Your Business Productive and Avoid Costly Mistakes

17. January 2014 08:29

Woman at her desk has the sniffles and possibly a headache, based on bodylanguage.

January and February tend to be the peak of cold and flu season in the United States, which means small businesses all over America may feel like they’re hosting a kind of Winter Olympics for viruses.

Since office-place sniffles have been known to linger well into May, it’s not too late to combat communicable disease, boost cold-weather productivity, and avoid the costly mistakes that tend to rise with our temperatures.

How? Develop a workplace wellness program to promote employee health! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website provides four reasons why healthier employees are good for business:

  1. Healthy employees are less likely to take time off due to illness.
  2. Businesses that support workplace health have more employees at work every day.
  3. Good employee health often translates to good family health – employees tend to spend less time at home caring for sick family members.
  4. Wellness programs can reduce “presenteeism,” which happens when sort-of sick employees come in and have a terrifically unproductive day because they’re sniffling or sneezing the whole time.

Influenza is among the most costly of all preventable illnesses. Below we discuss a few ways that your business can fight the flu – and save money. For more information on workplace wellness programs in general, check out our blog “Employee Wellness Programs: How Small Businesses Can Reap the Rewards.”

3 Flu-Fighting Tips from Physicians, Nurses, and Nutritionists

Physicians, nurses, nutritionists, and other healthcare professionals have come up with a few tried and true methods for preventing the flu. These tips will hardly cost your business anything more than a bit of education and vigilance.

Sick employees at work just aren’t worth it. Besides the potential for infecting other workers, sick employees get less done and may make errors and omissions that they otherwise wouldn’t, putting your business at risk for insurance claims.

How Much Does Influenza Really Cost Small Businesses?

It’s easy for small-business owners to underestimate the cost of common illnesses like influenza. But according to the CDC, influenza is the cause of about 36,000 deaths and more than 200,000 hospitalizations each year. It’s true that complications due to influenza mostly affect the very old and the very young – but that doesn’t mean your workforce doesn’t take a hit.

Researchers estimate that, each year, influenza is responsible for:

Influenza – and the fever, coughing, and fatigue that accompany it – can also cloud your employees’ judgment and cause them to make costly professional mistakes. Studies have found that fatigue alone can:

All of these increase your business’s risk of a costly Errors and Omissions / Professional Liability lawsuit. Not to mention potential Workers’ Compensation claims. (For more this subject, read our “Managing Workers’ Comp Costs by Offering Fitness Opportunities” blog.)

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Tags:

Risk Management | Small Business | Small Business Risk Management | Tips for All Small Businesses

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