Spring is in the air (at last) and while flu season may seem like a distant memory, now is the time for employers to formulate plans to combat the 2019-2020 flu season, which begins in September.

An employee flu immunization program is one of the most economical and effective ways to prevent this highly contagious respiratory illness. Last year, less than 40 percent of adults in the U.S. got a flu vaccination. Those rates have significant and worrisome implications for employers. Consider the numbers: the average cost of a lost workday per employee is $200. The average number of lost workdays due to the flu is five. That’s a loss of $1,000 for an employer. If 20 percent of a workplace with 1,000 employees get the flu, that’s 200 employees. Loss of productivity: a whopping $200,000.

A flu immunization program will keep your employees healthy and curb financial losses. Now is the time to get ahead by planning an immunization program, keeping these five simple steps in mind.

Focus on communication

Determine what works best for your workplace such as a company newsletter, email or a poster in the elevator to help spread the word about flu vaccinations. Some employers find text messaging works well, too, especially if the company has used this method in the past. Repeat your main flu-related messages over several channels.

Identify champions within your organization

Find employees who will serve as advocates for flu prevention and ask them to help spearhead the internal campaign. These “flu fighters” can generate awareness and excitement amongst employees and motivate them to participate in the immunization program.

Offer incentives

Host a health fair and open it up to spouses and dependents. Use rewards such as gift cards for those employees that get the flu shot. Making your flu shot campaign fun will help you engage employees.

Keep it simple and convenient

Offer onsite events during and after work. Have scheduling software in place to minimize wait times. For those that prefer to get their shot outside of work, partner with a local retail pharmacy to make it happen.

Connect with community partners

Leverage public health resources to promote flu prevention. When it comes to fighting the flu, the more people that get involved, the better for everyone.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates between 28 million and 33 million Americans have had the flu since October 1, 2018. Kick start your flu prevention program now and protect your employees from becoming one of next year’s statistics.

BioIQ can help employers implement a comprehensive flu immunization program – including the tools and technology to facilitate communication and engagement with employees and reports to track the program’s progress. To learn how we can help your organization plan for flu season, please call (888) 818-1594 or email sales@bioiq.com.

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