The sweltering days of summer may not seem like the most ideal time to be thinking about flu season, but believe it or not cost conscious companies are already planning to prevent the fallout from an influenza outbreak and taking stock of opportunities to make sure their work force will perform optimally when the virus hits this year. There’s a good reason for taking action to prepare now for the fall and flu season and planning is absolutely essential in communicating and executing prevention programs that will protect the health of your business.
Gauge Your Needs
First gauge the needs of your company and review the success of previous efforts to prevent outbreaks of the flu. Carefully review the percentage of your workforce that took sick leave in previous years and have a clear understanding of how much it costs your company in productivity and profits when the flu strikes. Set a goal for improving those statistics and develop a prevention plan that will fit your budget and your workforce needs. Our credo is based on the philosophy that there is no one-size-fits-all plan. Every business is unique when you consider size, industries, operations and schedules. That said, there is one commonality no matter how small or large your company that will determine the success of your goal and that is commitment from management to make the plan work. Communicating that commitment to the entire workforce is equally important. Putting a plan into place can take months depending on the size of your company, which is why we recommend getting started now especially if there is no plan at all.
Develop a Message
Develop a message that explains why it is important for employees to participate and that flu prevention is not just about productivity and the smooth operation of your company emphasizing that maintaining good health is for their own (and their family’s) benefit. As part of your plan, consider providing ample opportunity for workers to be vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends an annual flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against the flu…and that the vaccines should begin as soon as they are available. What many businesses don’t know is that the vaccine is available now with certain providers so the summer months aren’t too early to be gearing up for prevention at all. One of the most effective means of getting your workforce vaccinated is by making it accessible at your place of business. Hosting a clinic is always an excellent idea and can really get workers engaged in wellness activities that center on getting vaccinated.
Schedule a Day
Make the clinic simple by scheduling a day where employees can participate or get really creative and design contests and incentives to build up to the big day where they may be rewarded and will feel good about being a part of your company’s goals. Be sure to choose a location that is convenient, comfortable and where vaccinations can be privately administered by a licensed nurse. Get managers involved and let them lead by example drawing attention to their own commitment to staying healthy. Budgets vary and cost is always a consideration, but many companies find that they have the most coverage when vaccinations are offered at no or a low cost to employees. Create a “Vaccination Pledge” that encourages employees to go the extra step of including family members. Opening up clinics to family members may also add incentive and what a valuable opportunity it is to make good health and prevention a family day for employees.
Promote the Clinic
Use communication tools already in place to promote the clinic and provide a continuous stream of information focused on other prevention methods using tips, posters and other visual materials. Add articles to spice up your newsletters and post reminders that reinforce prevention tips such as washing hands frequently with soap and water, covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze (and stay at least six feet away from other people), and avoiding contact with people who are sick.
And as always, it is truly best not to wait until the last minute to put a flu vaccination plan into place. We have worked with so many companies over the years that have come to realize—out of experience—just how important it is to prepare and be a part of minimizing flu outbreaks in the workplace and throughout the community. The CDC estimates that the flu costs employers and businesses approximately $10.4 billion in direct costs for hospitalizations and outpatient visits for adults. Remember, these viruses can be unpredictable as they change every year and can result in a new kind of flu. Prepare now for a payoff that puts the health and well-being of your workforce and your business first during one of our challenging healthcare seasons.
Schedule Flu Vaccinations Now
Flu vaccinations keep your workforce healthy. Let us bring our mobile services to you or visit our full service medical office. We offer discount prices for 12 people or more — family members 18 and up are eligible. TMD provides award-winning services that are convenient, professional and competitively priced. Give us a call at (757) 494-1688 to schedule today.