The flu season is fast approaching the UK once again and businesses which fail to prepare for it will be left counting the costs of their inaction. Figures highlighting the damage that an outbreak of the virus can cause to employers make for ugly reading it has been estimated that more than 150 million working days are lost every year as a result of flu. This has a knock-on effect on the entire economy and is thought to set the country back almost £7 billion.
Research carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has revealed that colds and flu are among the biggest causes of short-term absence in the UK. While this may be common knowledge, the scale of the problem is higher than most firms would ever realise - some 97.7 per cent of absences from manual jobs lasting for shorter than four weeks are caused by these viruses. The problem is even worse among non-manual staff, with colds and flu accounting for 99.2 per cent of all the days missed through ill health.What can be done to reduce flu absence?
Fortunately, help is at hand for businesses to decrease the impact that flu can have on their employees and productivity. Aviva Healthcare can give you a head start on protecting your workforce with our on-site flu vaccination programme, which can be held at a time and place to suit you. Flu vaccinations are proven to be effective approximately 75 per cent of the time, while those who still develop symptoms will often suffer from a milder form of the virus. As a result, it's hard to argue that the vaccination programme offers excellent value for money along with improved peace of mind for employers.
As well as potentially protecting employees from developing flu, the vaccination scheme can also reduce workplace absence in other ways. By setting up on site at a convenient time and location, Aviva Healthcare removes the need for staff members to take additional time off to visit their doctor or nurse. Each vaccination can be done in around five minutes, meaning that very little working time will be lost although everyone who is given the shot will need about ten minutes to rest and recuperate after they receive it.Does the vaccination protect against swine flu?
While seasonal flu outbreaks have been shown to have potentially severe consequences for the business world, pandemic flu viruses could be even more severe. According to figures from FluCount.org, there have been almost 1.5 million cases of H1N1 flu, otherwise known as swine flu, more than 25,000 of which have proven fatal. In the UK, there have been over 460 cases of the pandemic virus for every million people living in the country, with the death rate standing at 6.68 per million.
The flu vaccine which has been recommended for use in the northern hemisphere in 2010-11 by the World Health Organisation contains a strand of the virus which is similar to H1N1. It is expected that this will be able to protect those who receive the shot from the current batch of pandemic influenza viruses. Once it is administered, the vaccine stimulates the body into creating antibodies which act as a defence against the strains, with the protection generally kicking in within a week.What other benefits are there to getting employees vaccinated against flu?
Protecting your workforce from flu does more than just protect your firm from loss of productivity. It also demonstrates that you care about the health and wellbeing of the people you employee and can help to bring a more supportive culture to the workplace as a whole.
To find out more, please call us on 0845 300 5701 (quote EMFL) between 09:00 and 17:00 BST from Monday to Friday. Alternatively, you can email us on HCHSFLU@aviva.co.uk.