Does it seem like your workplace is running a little shorter staffed these days? It likely is. The influenza outbreak that has left millions of people across the nation ill, is the most widespread outbreak since public health authorities started tracking this information more than a decade ago.
The Center for Disease Control is reporting infections caused by H1N1 strain with a larger number of infections of the H3N2 strain being predominate this time around. The H3N2 strain is best known for it’s resistance to vaccinations that are typically most effective against other flu strains. The H3N2 strain is also known to cause more severe symptoms than more common flu strains.
In addition to the severity of this influenza outbreak, the geographical reach is far more widespread than most flu seasons. Nearly all fifty states are experiencing widespread infections according to the CDC.
For employers, this widespread outbreak is having a significant impact on business and the bottom line. Experts at Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. are estimating the illness may cost US employers as much as $9 billion in losses. To minimize the impact to your business, employers are encouraged to:
- Minimize in-person meetings and opt whenever possible for conference calls or video meetings.
- Provide employees with flu vaccinations.
- Provide hand sanitizer in multiple areas of the workplace.
- Discourage employees from coming to work ill.
- Limit workplace snacks to individually packaged items.
- Make a plan to prevent interruptions to operations and productivity based on absences.
- Allow high risk employees to work from home.
- Increase workplace cleaning routines to reduce the spread of germs.
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