How the flu season can negatively impact your workplace

As we head into the cooler months of the year, Workplace Health and Safety Managers will be well aware of the significant effects that the influenza (flu) season can have on the workplace. This can stem across productivity, morale, and the business (even the economy) at large. Let’s take a closer look.

How flu can impact productivity

Bad news for employees who brave their flu symptoms and show up to work; not only does this reduce productivity, it can also negatively impact colleagues. This is because when employees attend work while sick, they are typically only able to do the bare minimum Additionally, they may spread infections to others, resulting in prolonged periods of reduced overall productivity.

Say hello to low morale

It’s simple: having sick employees in the workplace can negatively affect team morale – after all, no one wants a colleague with a constant sniffle or a barrage of sneezes spreading germs throughout the shared environment,

The enduring impact of COVID-19 has left a significant mark on many. Some either personally experienced its effects (the Australian treasury estimated that 31,000 people missed work each day in June 2022 alone, due to ongoing health issues associated with COVID-19)[1], or continue to experience long-term symptoms, while others have family members who are immunocompromised. When workers show up sick to work, this can heighten concerns among their colleagues who may be worried about getting sick themselves or infecting their loved ones. This can also result in increased anxiety and reduced morale, exacerbate existing absenteeism, and impact day-to-day operations. Moreover, high levels of absenteeism can place pressure on the remaining employees: for example, they may find themselves shouldering additional workloads to compensate for absent co-workers.

A woman blowing her nose as she lies in bed on her side.

Flu isn’t just bad for the body; it’s bad for business… and the economy

Companies need to consider the cost of both absenteeism and “presenteeism” (i.e., being at work but not being productive) as they can both affect their business and the economy at large. While absenteeism from the flu costs the Australian economy approximately $7 billion, the   Additionally, employees who continue working when they are sick, both in the office or remotely, will likely take longer to recover.

If you are a Workplace Health and Safety Manager who is seeking effective strategies to navigate flu season while minimising productivity loss, maintaining high team morale, and controlling costs; please read our guide to preventing cold and flu in the workplace.

At Bodycare Workplace Solutions, we offer comprehensive occupational health and injury prevention solutions to our clients. Our skilled and experienced team provides cost-effective onsite vaccination services for many organisations in Australia. Whether you opt for vaccinations at a single location or multiple sites nationwide, we have the expertise and practitioner network to handle your vaccination program needs effectively and efficiently.

Contact Bodycare today to discuss our workplace flu vaccination program and minimise the flu season’s impact on your workplace.

1 Australian Government Productivity Commission

2 ABC News