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Jo Geraghty

Director

Here today, flu tomorrow

Date added: 10th Oct 2014
Category: Employee Engagement

Public Health England is doing its bit to spread the flu-jab message. Businesses too can do their bit by helping to prevent flu catching hold and, if it does, by having a strong policy of employee care and welfare which helps employees to get back on their feet without feeling the pressure to work through their time of illness.

Autumn has arrived and with it comes Public Health England’s annual push to maximise take-up of the flu jab.  Those with an underlying health condition are eleven times more likely to die if they catch flu, making the flu jab more than common sense for them, and yet just 52% of those eligible took up the free injection last year.

For those who don’t qualify for the free jab, the rise in supermarkets and other outlets offering injections for around the £10 mark means that it has never been easier for individuals to cut down on their risk of illness this winter. Employers too can play their part in helping to protect their employees.  Whilst some organisations arrange for flu jab sessions in the workplace, others take preventative measures such as providing hand gel, sanitising shared keyboards and phones or simply reminding employees about basic hygiene measures which they can take to protect themselves and others.

These are all simple measures and very cost effective when compared to the cost of losing employee time through illness.  But it is when flu strikes that the true measure of employer care for employees comes to light.  Businesses which expect employees to come into the office when in the early stages of flu, businesses which expect employees to continue to work from home even when they are suffering with a high temperature; these are the businesses which show little care for employee welfare.  Just because people can work from home doesn’t mean that they should work from home when ill.  Not only will this delay their recovery it will also send out a clear message to the workforce.

Public Health England is doing its bit to spread the flu-jab message.  Businesses too can do their bit by helping to prevent flu catching hold and, if it does, by having a strong policy of employee care and welfare which helps employees to get back on their feet without feeling the pressure to work through their time of illness.

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