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"Diligence Early In The Flu Season Ensures Health And Productivity Throughout The Season," Said Lisa Hamblet, Vice President For Facility Solutions At Staples Advantage, The Business-to-business Division Of Staples. (Photo: Business Wire)

Facility Managers and Business Service Contractors First Line of Defense

Only seven percent of facility managers (FMs) identified the break room as the germiest place in the office, demonstrating that even an organization’s FM doesn’t always have the correct information. Staples separately surveyed this group to determine challenges faced during flu season.

Similar to last year, there is uncertainty over the role an FM plays in flu prevention in the workplace:

  • 43 percent of FMs believe they’re responsible for the health of building occupants during flu season while 40 percent say it is up to the workers themselves.
  • Not even 50 percent of FMs indicated that they ordered critical supplies to help prevent the spread of germs in the office, such as cleaning and disinfecting chemicals.

When asked what would be most helpful for employees to keep in mind to help prevent germs, FMs identified a wide range of preventative measures, from washing hands and not eating at desks, to covering noses/mouths when sneezing and cleaning desks using sanitizing products.

Staples recommends these easy steps to help maintain a healthier work environment:

  • Provide appropriate supplies: Employers can help their employees stay healthy throughout flu season by providing the necessary materials. The top three products respondents indicated they would like their employers to provide are hand sanitizer in common areas (47 percent), hand sanitizing wipes on every desk (42 percent) and touch free restroom features (39 percent).
  • Offer/encourage a telecommuting program: Twenty-one percent of respondents said they come into work sick because they don’t think they could do their work from home. One way to help address employees coming into the office when sick would be to consider implementing a telecommuting program – or encourage the use of an existing program. Of the respondents whose company offers a telecommuting option, more than 50 percent felt inclined to telecommute to avoid sickness during flu season.
  • Log off: While employees admit to coming to work when sick because they don’t want to fall behind on their work, survey results show that productivity drops to under 60 percent of norm when sick. In order to maintain a productive workplace, employers should encourage their employees to take the necessary time to recover when they contract the flu, to protect not only themselves but other workers.

Helpful Resources for Businesses of all Sizes

Staples Advantage, Staples.com and Staples stores offer products and tips to keep businesses of all sizes running smoothly during flu season. Visit www.staples.com/fluprevention to view product information, whitepapers, case studies, videos, webinars and other tools to help fend off the damage of flu season.

About the Survey

Staples conducted an online survey of 316 office workers and 132 FMs at organizations of all sizes across the U.S. The survey, conducted in August 2013, asked a series of questions about hygiene in the workplace and flu knowledge.

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