Its challenging to stay healthy during the flu season, made even harder when sick coworkers spread millions of germs throughout the office. Using the company's @StaplesTweets Twitter handle, Staples conducted a recent series of surveys that revealed some interesting findings about how people are battling germs and the flu.
With an estimated 20,000 germs per square inch on the average office desk according to experts at GOJO Industries, its important to keep workspaces clean particularly during flu season. Taking simple, easy steps, such as frequent hand washing and cleaning workspace surfaces, can go a long way in keeping healthy. When asked about cleanliness habits, Staples surveys found that:
-- 57 percent of respondents noted they wash their hands regularly and use hand sanitizer when its available
-- More than half (54 percent) said they keep hand sanitizer at their desks, further helping to avoid the spread of germs
-- 41 percent said they thought that most desk-area surface germs were found on their phone
This year, Staples.com launched its first ever Flu Center, offering customers another resource to make it easy to keep their businesses running smoothly. The Flu Center provides helpful tips, flu facts, a "wellness calculator" and is the one-stop shop for a wide assortment of office cleaning and flu prevention products to help keep offices healthy. To learn more, visit the Staples Flu Center: www.staples.com/ahealthyoffice.
As an expert on the flu virus, Dr. Brian Currie, vice president and medical director for research at the Montefiore Medical Center, offers effective ways to keep offices healthy. "Prevention is imperative. In todays busy world, people dont have time to be sick. It can be hard to allow yourself time to rest and recover so taking preventative measures is the most effective way to defend against the flu," says Currie. "I encourage workers who are afraid of getting the flu vaccine to take it. Its a safe and effective way to prevent getting the virus. (Note: only four of 10 survey respondents plan to get the flu vaccine.) Additionally, to prevent the spread of flu I strongly recommend that workers wash their hands regularly, use hand sanitizers, have tissues readily available, and practice proper coughing and sneezing etiquette."
A study by Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimates that the flu alone results in approximately 70 million missed work days and nearly $10 billion in lost productivity in the U.S. each year. For small businesses faced with smaller staffs and limited resources, this can have a significant impact on the bottom line.
Although 34 percent of those surveyed said they would prefer if their coworker stayed home and used sick days, a majority of respondents (85 percent) said they will come into work when sick. When asked how sick they need to feel before not going to work
-- 43 percent said that they would come into work unless they physically couldnt get out of bed
-- 33 percent said they would come in with caution
-- 10 percent said they would come in no matter how sick they were
"Every hour when an employee is sick and unable to work greatly affects the productivity of a small business," says Anabela Perozek, vice president of marketing for Staples Business Delivery. "We care about our small business customers and want to help provide them with resources and products to keep their offices healthy and running effectively through the flu season. Small businesses are critical to our economy, and were committed to helping them succeed."
Staples survey questions (#WeeklyPoll) were issued in three series over Staples' Twitter handle (@StaplesTweets) from October 4, 2010 to October 31, 2010 and received 1,162 responses.