Keeping the Air Clean: Managing Workplace Respiratory Viruses

by | Oct 24, 2023 | Axiom Medical, Contagious Illness, Coronavirus & COVID-19, Employee Absence Management, Employee Health Management, Flu Vaccination

Managing workplace respiratory viruses can be a challenging endeavor. Last year, we battled the ‘tripledemic’ threat of flu, COVID, and RSV. Now, as we enter the next respiratory virus season, you must wonder what is in store for us this season as absenteeism increases from illnesses.

The upcoming respiratory virus season is set to alarm many people in the workplace. Last year, everyone seemed to know someone sick with one of these viruses at any given time.

It’s our duty to not only take care of ourselves but also our colleagues in the workplace. Viruses can spread easily, and preparing ahead of time is better than being sorry later.

Respiratory viruses, such as influenza, COVID-19, and RSV, pose significant challenges to employers. Outbreaks can lead to:

  • substantial staff absences, disrupting the flow of operations
  • a potential decrease in productivity
  • healthcare-related costs that may escalate during a public health crisis

The psychological impact on the workforce is another vital aspect. Employees’ fear of falling ill can affect their work performance and overall job satisfaction.

6 Tips for Managing Workplace Respiratory Viruses

As an employer, it is crucial to take proactive measures to control the spread of viruses in the workplace. Here is how we can prepare for the respiratory virus season and how workplaces can play a significant role in managing workplace respiratory viruses.

1. Vaccinations

Vaccinations are one way to prevent respiratory viruses from spreading. Offering on-site flu vaccination clinics can make it easier for employees to get vaccinated and help prevent the spread of the flu in the workplace.

Also, employers can provide annual flu vaccinations and offer other vaccinations to employees as part of their employee wellness programs. Getting the flu shot in September or October before flu season ramps up is recommended.

2. Educate Your Workforce

Education is crucial in the fight against respiratory viruses. Educate your employees on how to prevent the virus’s spread, especially during seasonal peaks.

Provide training on proper hand washing, use of hand sanitizers, and respiratory etiquette. Ensure that the workers understand how the virus spreads and how to protect themselves.

3. Monitor Employee Health

Employers must monitor employee health regularly. Encourage employees to report when they are feeling sick. Conduct daily health surveys and monitor everyone’s respiratory symptoms.

Advocate for early reporting of any COVID-19 symptoms or flu symptoms to enable contact tracing and prevent the spread of the virus.

Require employees who show symptoms of respiratory viruses to stay home until they have fully recovered or received treatment. Provide paid sick leave policies to support unwell employees.

4. Create a Clean & Healthy Environment

Creating a clean and healthy environment in the workplace can make a significant difference in managing respiratory viruses. Ensure that the workspace is adequately ventilated and that the air conditioning systems work well.

Also, keep the workspace clean and disinfected throughout the day by cleaning surfaces like doorknobs, keyboards, light switches, and printers regularly.

5. Promote Good Hygiene

Good hygiene practices can significantly reduce the spread of viruses in the workplace. Encourage employees to wash their hands regularly, use hand sanitizer, cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing, and stay home if they are feeling unwell.

6. Flexible Working Arrangements

Consider implementing flexible working arrangements, if possible, such as working from home, flexible schedules, or staggered start times. This can reduce the number of people in the workplace at any given time and decrease the likelihood of virus transmission.

We all must be prepared for the upcoming respiratory virus season. It’s a significant responsibility for employers to ensure their employees’ well-being and safety amid the rapidly changing environment.
Encouraging vaccinations, educating the workforce, monitoring employee health, creating a healthy environment, and providing possible flexible work arrangements can make a significant difference in managing respiratory viruses.

Axiom Medical is uniquely positioned to support employers in managing workplace respiratory viruses. Our comprehensive solutions are geared towards reducing absenteeism and maintaining productivity.

With proactive employee health check-ins and rapid response to illnesses, we can help identify potential outbreaks early. We also provide expert advice on health regulation compliance, ensuring a safe and healthy work environment.

Axiom Medical’s support extends beyond the physical to address the psychological implications of a health crisis, ensuring your team feels secure and supported.

Are you worried about how viruses like the flu might impact your workplace? Download our free white paper and try out our free flu calculator to learn more about the costly impact it can have on your organization.

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Flu Management in The Workplace