Tag Archives: productivity

Flu Economics

flu shotOnce I worked in a small shop, just me and another dude. We shared a lot of things, including doorknobs, telephones, computer keyboards…and every virus his toddler brought home from daycare! So I know a little bit about workplace-spread illness and how it affects morale, productivity and take-home pay.

Today, 20 years later, I am still religious about getting my annual flu shot. In fact, today I am heading all the way across town to get a free one at my wife’s work.

Now, I’m not looking for a debate about immunizations (is the flu even part of that controversy?) I am talking about how the flu affects your company’s bottom line and how, if you are an hourly employee or a freelancer like me, the flu cuts directly into your income. So let’s take a look at Flu Season by the Numbers!

In General:

  • 5-20% of us will get the flu this year
  • 100 million days of bed disability
  • 22 million visits to healthcare providers
  • 200,000 hospitalizations
  • 3,000-49,000 will die, depending on a lot of factors

At Work:

  • 75 million days of work absences
  • 200 million days of diminished productivity
  • $6.2 billion in lost productivity
  • $10 billion in direct medical costs
  • $87 billion in “total estimated economic burden”

What Are We Doing About It?

  • 180 million flu shot doses are being distributed
  • 44% of adults get vaccinated
  • 60% of kids get vaccinated
  • 70% of employers offer flu vaccine programs
  • 15% of employees actually take advantage of these programs

How about you? Are you getting a shot this year? Have you done it in the past? Or do you think it’s a waste of time? (They do say that the shot is 50-60% effective. Is that good enough for you, or not?) Speaking just for myself, I usually think it’s worth the $20. And, as I said, this year is free so I am definitely taking advantage. Share your thoughts at the MindField Online Facebook page…and stay healthy this year!

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