G&K Services, Inc. (NASDAQ: GK). In an average year, up to 20 percent of the US population is infected with the flu, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). People infected with the flu may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. While nearly 111 million workdays are lost due to the flu each year, equaling approximately $7 billion per year in sick days and lost productivity¹, businesses can take preventative steps to help reduce the risk of a flu outbreak in the workplace. According to Dave Euson, G&K Services’ Vice President of Marketing and Sales, “Hand hygiene is an important step during this time of year. Keeping hand towels and GOJO® hand soap fully stocked in restrooms and placing alcohol-based PURELL® instant hand sanitizers in touch free dispensers near high traffic areas such as lobbies, break areas and elevators can help minimize cross-contamination and create a clean work environment.” In addition to proper hand hygiene, other steps businesses can take to reduce the risk of the flu in their workplaces include:
- Keep frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as doorknobs, keyboards, and phones, routinely cleaned to help prevent the transfer of the virus.
- Get a flu vaccination each year as recommended by the CDC which reiterates it is the most important step in fighting influenza. To encourage employee participation, businesses can offer flu vaccinations on-site.
- Employees who start to feel sick while at work should limit contact with other employees and try to go home as soon as possible. Train other employees on how to perform critical tasks for when an employee has to stay home.
- If an outbreak of the flu occurs, the CDC says follow public health advice (www.cdc.gov). Information may be provided on how to increase distance between people and additional actions to take.
- Finally, you can calculate the cost of the cold and flu season on your business by visiting http://www.gkservices.com/what-will-cold-flu-season-cost-your-business. The “Germ Calculator” can estimate the cost of unscheduled employee absences due to personal illness.