Dr. Mary Capelli-Schellpfeffer, medical director of Loyola University Health System Occupational Health Services, offers advice for how businesses can prepare and respond to the flu.
“An organization can be severely impacted by people coming to work when they’re sick. We know illness can spread from person to person causing entire work groups to be impacted. But less obvious is how job performance, organization, productivity, creativity and financial stability can all be affected,” said Capelli-Schellpfeffer.
Sickness can interrupt productivity by creating a distraction and causing both the infected person and coworkers to focus on the illness instead of their jobs. It can affect how outsiders, such as clients and customers, view the stability of the company as well.
“Encourage employees who are sick to use their sick time. Many don’t know they have it because they’ve never had to use it,” said Capelli-Schellpfeffer. “Make sure to plan ahead so if you have a deadline there are procedures in place - like how to work from home. By making small changes and preparing for illness we can protect each other and our businesses.”
People often think because they wash their hands or take over-the-counter medications, they aren’t spreading the illness. Not so.
“Just being in a room and breathing when a person is sick can spread the illness, not to mention coughing and sneezing. If you’re sick you shouldn’t be in the workplace. It interrupts business and puts others at risk of infection,” said Capelli-Schellpfeffer.
To prepare and protect your business from a flu outbreak Dr. Capelli-Schellpfeffer offers the following four tips:1.Communicate your policy on attendance when sick
“While news cycles and the public’s attention span about the flu rises and wanes, the flu is not going away,” said Capelli-Schellpfeffer. “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.”
Loyola Occupational Health Services provides onsite company stress management and wellness workshops. For more information call toll-free (888) LUHS-888.
Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, Loyola University Health System is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and 25 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus, Loyola University Hospital, is a 561-licensed-bed facility. It houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children’s Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus in Melrose Park includes the 264-bed community hospital, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness and the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Care Center.
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