Jan 18, 2013 12:00 PM by Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- With flu widespread throughout the United States this season, businesses need to prepare to deal with productivity challenges, a doctor advises.
"An organization can be severely impacted by people coming to work when they're sick," Dr. Mary Capelli-Schellpfeffer, medical director of Loyola University Health System Occupational Health Services, said in a health system news release.
"We know illness can spread from person to person, causing entire work groups to be affected. But less obvious is how job performance, organization, productivity, creativity and financial stability can all be affected," she added.
Worker illness can reduce productivity by causing a distraction and leading the sick employees and colleagues to focus on the illness instead of their jobs.
"Encourage employees who are sick to use their sick time. Some don't know they have it because they've never had to use it," Capelli-Schellpfeffer said. "Put a plan in place now so if you have a deadline there are procedures in place -- like how to work from home. By making small changes, we can protect each other and our businesses."
She offered the following tips to help businesses protect themselves from a flu outbreak:
"Though there is a cost involved in promoting wellness, it is small in comparison to the pricey hit companies take when their workforce is impaired by illness. A flu shot program is an investment that yields big returns for businesses," Capelli-Schellpfeffer said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about the flu and flu vaccine.