How to avoid spreading the flu at work
Stay home—work can wait.
It's flu season, which means you know the drill: If you get sick, stay home from work. But what if you have a big meeting, or an important deadline?
“Most people know they should stay home, but still find reasons to go into work,” said Liz Hill, SAIF's Total Worker Health® adviser. “Not only does this expose your co-workers to an illness, it also makes it a lot harder for your body to recover.”
Hill suggests managers can help set expectations during flu season. This includes:
- Encouraging workers to use their sick leave. Oregon law requires employers with 10 or more employees to provide 40 hours of paid leave per year.
- Making it easy for workers to wash their hands. Consider having alcohol-based hand sanitizer available on worksites where handwashing facilities are not available.
- Planning for flu season. When employees are out, extra work can fall to other staff members-increasing their likelihood of getting sick or injured. Have a contingency plan for being short on employees.
Most importantly, managers should lead by example.
“It sometimes seems managers are the least likely to take a sick day,” said Hill. “Remember, you are setting the tone for the whole team-if you get sick, stay home.”
For more information on flu prevention at work, visit saif.com/flu.
SAIF is Oregon's not-for-profit workers' compensation insurance company. Since 1914, we've been taking care of injured workers, helping people get back to work, and striving to make Oregon the safest and healthiest place to work. For more information, visit the About SAIF page on saif.com.