Worth a shot - benefits of workplace vaccination programs

The incoming seasonal changes bring with them several contagious illnesses such as the flu. And now, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the chances of being affected by deadly viruses is even higher. Statistics show that the annual cost to Australian companies in lost time due to cold and flu is more than seven billion dollars. To keep this under control and prevent people from falling sick, businesses must take action to keep their workplaces well sanitised and encourage employees to get vaccinated just ahead of the flu season. This is especially relevant as people start returning to offices this winter. 

Here are some benefits of workplace flu vaccination drives:

1. Improving Employee Health

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Flu symptoms often take 3-4 days to manifest. Everyday contact with the infected person, puts all their close contacts at risk and is a highly common mode of transmission of diseases in workplaces. In such a situation, a flu vaccination program not only reduces risk of transmission but also sends a message to employees that their employer values health and wellbeing. This encourages employees to get a flu shot and has a huge impact on the mental well-being of the individual. By reducing the risk of a wide range of health problems, workplace absenteeism can be reduced. Healthier employees are expected to bring about more productivity, less absenteeism and higher work results. An Australian study found that healthy employees work 2.9 times more effective hours per month than the less healthy. 

2. Encouraging Healthier and Improved Workplace Etiquette

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Setting up vaccination programs at the workplace, sends out a message to the employee that, businesses take diseases and infections seriously. Putting in effort to prevent the spread of infectious diseases encourages employees to take proper care of their health. Flu vaccination drives that are complemented with thorough sanitisation practices help to create a healthier and safer workplace. A workplace that encourages healthy habits such as – handwashing at regular intervals, sanitisation, quarantining in case of feeling unwell creates an overall healthy workplace etiquette which further helps prevent spread of other infections.  

3. Sends Out a Caring Message

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When businesses set up workplace vaccinations and flu clinics, they send out a positive message to the employees. Employees start feeling well taken care of and the business is viewed as a caring and socially responsible institution. The effect is not only limited to that of the employees but also extend towards the various business external stakeholders who might be exposed to an unwell individual.  Hence, making people aware of the fact that your business takes responsibility of its employees and associated individuals, sends out a message of positivity and responsibility.

4. Employee Awareness and benefits to the wider community

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With workplaces organising vaccination drives and flu shots, employees become more and more aware about the importance of it. It also creates a nudging culture to get immunised.  Also, they are able to spread awareness about the same to their families and friends. This results in a widespread awareness about the pros and cons of vaccines and vaccination drives.  Moreover, with an increase in employee awareness there is a change in the work culture which results in well monitored physical and mental well-being.

5. Convenience for Employees

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Having vaccination drives arranged for at their workplaces is highly convenient for the employees. They will not only be properly vaccinated under proper medical guidelines but also receive information about all the necessary procedures that are to be followed. In some cases, businesses also opt for arranging vaccines for the family members of the employees, which ensures general preparedness for the flu season.

 

There is a strong business case for workplace vaccination programs.  In order to successfully run a vaccination program, a proper planning process with the right stakeholders is required. Getting in touch with flu vaccination providers and coordinating  vaccination sessions with them ahead of the flu season is a great way to start the program. It is also advisable to divide the vaccination sessions into three different phases, based on the age groups or functions, especially for those in the frontline. Promoting the programs through posters, newsletters and intranet are some effective ways of communicating and raising awareness.  

Flu vaccination programs are worth a shot for ensuring a happy and healthy workforce – not only a great investment for businesses monetarily but also reputation-wise. Offering a workplace flu vaccination drive increases office productivity, retention and enforces positive work culture.  

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