Some jobs pose more risk for contracting flu
The flu season typically peaks in January and February, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and workers in some jobs are more vulnerable than others because of a higher exposure to germs, a more hectic travel schedule or more stress, reports Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of the office supplier.
Making the list of those most at risk:
• Retail-store employees, through their frequent contact with the public and handling of cash and credit cards.
• Doctors and nurses, through their daily interaction with unhealthy people.
• Teachers, through their contact with children and the classroom.
• Sanitation workers, because of their daily contact with waste.
• Mortuary employees, because they interact with people who may have been around ill and hospitalized family members.
• Flight attendants, because they spend hours in enclosed spaces with fliers, some of whom are sick.
• Bank employees and other staffers who handle currency.
• IT support/computer-repair personnel, through their contact with technology devices used frequently by others.
• Business executives, who often have heavy travel schedules and whose long hours cut into their sleep schedule.
• Air traffic controllers, whose highly stressful job makes them vulnerable to illness.
Working while sick
Forty-seven percent of Americans who have the flu stay home less than two days even while acknowledging that three days is appropriate, according to an August 2013 poll on workplace hygiene and knowledge of the flu that Staples Advantage conducted with 316 office workers and 137 facility managers.
Not wanting to fall behind in their work was the main reason most respondents (45%) gave for returning to work early when they were sick, according to the poll. However, productivity slips when a worker is under the weather.
“Flu season poses a big problem for businesses; each year it causes an estimated 70 million missed workdays and billions in lost office productivity,” said Lisa Hamblet, vice president for facility solutions at Staples Advantage, in a news release. “It’s critical that both employees and employers take notice and promote healthier habits.”
Workplace strategies that organizations can use include those as simple as giving employees individual hand sanitizers or placing sanitizers in common areas; encouraging ill workers to stay home, and having supervisors model that behavior; and discouraging desktop dining. Fifty-seven percent of people surveyed know that flu viruses can survive on a hard surface for up to three days; yet, 66% clean their desk once a week or less. The good news: That’s up from the 51% in 2012 who said they wipe down their work area weekly or less often.
Other flu-prevention tactics employers could consider include making free or low-cost onsite vaccinations available, updating restrooms to include touch-free features, providing paid sick leave, and offering — and encouraging — telecommuting when appropriate.
© 2013, Society for Human Resource Management
Have HR-related questions and concerns? Get access to essential forms, policies and guides, plus a live call center, at ToolkitHR.com, powered by HCN and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
Toro gets ready to celebrate 100 years in business
The Toro Co. is turning 100 this July, but plans are already under way for its year-long centennial.
In reflecting on the longevity of the company, Michael J. Hoffman, Toro’s chairman and CEO, cites “the character of our people and channel partners, and their relentless commitment to serving our customers and building market leadership through innovation.”
The company has created a website that details the company’s milestones and achievements over the past 100 years, including its entry into the golf market in 1918, its more than 1,500 patents, and its development of a global network spanning over 90 countries.
Toro is also launching a social media campaign on behalf of the celebration, encouraging people to visit the website to contribute their own stories, as well as share Toro memories on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #Toro100.
Meet Robert Kelly, LDAC’s Lumber Person of the Year
The Lumber Dealers Association of Connecticut honored their 2013 Lumber Person of the Year, Robert A. Kelly, at their 2013 Annual Banquet in November.
Kelly says it was a Wall Street Journal ad, promoting a lumberyard for sale, that first inspired him to join the industry and leave his government job during the Watergate era.
"Immediately, I had a vision of a horse-drawn wagon delivering rough-hewn beams to the docks and thought, ‘That’s for me,’" he told the LDAC.
Kelly purchased Torno Lumber and immediately encountered economic struggles when the oil crisis of 1973 hit, but thankfully, sales suddenly picked up before he fully formulated an exit strategy.
His philosophy is "to always do whatever my wife tells me to do" and to "laugh a lot and to think dirty thoughts … I also believe that there will be plenty of time to rest and catch up on sleep after death."
Kelly also served in the U.S. Marine Corp. Reserve as an infantry officer in Vietnam, where he was wounded four times. He spent 30 years in the Economics Department at Fairfield University and is a member of the American Legion, the Purple Heart Society, the Second Marine Division Association, India 3-9 Association and Leathernecks of Connecticut. He has been a member of the NRLA and LDAC since 1973.