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Flu season is coming. Is your workplace ready?

Nov 1, 2022 | Uncategorized

This year’s flu season is beginning to heat up, and COVID-19 is still around. Now will be a good time for employers to take necessary preventive measures to ensure their business operations are not affected during an outbreak. Unfortunately, many employers do not recognize it as a significant threat and likely suffer losses as their employees fall ill and work is disrupted. 

When does the flu season start?

Influenza, or flu, is a common respiratory illness affecting millions of Canadians every year. Flu season usually runs from November to April with flu cases increasing in winter. 

What are the symptoms of the flu? 

Flu symptoms may vary depending on the person. Some people only end up with a mild version while others get really ill.

Flu symptoms appear 1-4 days after being exposed to the virus, usually including:

  • fever
  • cough
  • muscle aches

Other common symptoms may include:

  • headache
  • chills
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose

Some may also experience:

  • diarrhoea
  • nausea and vomiting

Preparing your Workforce

Employing multiple health measures at once at your workplace helps protect your workforce and your organisation from the flu season. 

  • Raise awareness about seasonal influenza
  • Encourage employees to receive their annual flu vaccination, 
  • Ask employees to refrain from handshakes or hugs
  • Encourage sick employees to stay home 
  • Restrict unnecessary travel for work
  • Educate employees about good hygiene 
    • Encourage employees to wash their hands often. Cleaning your hands is one of the most important steps in avoiding spreading germs. Disease is often spread because of not using soap and running water to wash hands. Here’s an infographic you can share with your employees.

  • Sneeze and cough into a handkerchief or sleeve 
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Always wash hands before eating
  • Dispose of tissues immediately
  • Wipe down your workspace (desk, keyboard, mouse, etc.) often
  • Stay home from work if you’re feeling ill even if you think the symptoms are minor

Preparing your workplace 

Preparation against the flu should be based on a worst-case scenario. Ask yourself questions like what to do if there’s an outbreak and how to ensure the work is not disrupted if key employees fall ill. Here are a few tips for keeping influenza in check and dealing with absenteeism during the flu season. 

  • Review your sick leave policies

Create a sick leave plan that encourages employees to stay home when they are ill, so they don’t infect others and review your current sick leave policy. Need help with drafting a sick leave policy? Talk to our experts today!

  • Follow health & safety measures 
    1. Make alcohol-based sanitizer available at the workplace 
    2. Regularly clean and sanitise commonly used areas, equipments and objects
    3. Dispose of trash frequently 
    4. Conduct a vaccine drive
  • Offer flexible work options 
    1. Identify employees who can support remotely
    2. Provide remote working opportunities 
  • Cross-train employees in tasks necessary to keep a department functioning.

This guidance offers a baseline on how to protect your workforce during a seasonal flu outbreak. However, these procedures may not provide sufficient protection in the event of a flu pandemic.

To help keep your employees well this flu season, we’ve created this handy infographic. Download it now and share with your workers.


Provincial Information and Flu Shots

Visit the provincial/territorial links below for more information on flu and flu shot clinics in your area, or contact your local or provincial/territorial health authority:



The flu can cause widespread business disruptions resulting in financial losses. Employers can mitigate such losses by implementing measures that will help prevent the spread of the influenza virus within the workplace: raising awareness about seasonal influenza, promoting proper hygiene, keeping the workplace clean, encouraging employees to receive their annual flu vaccination, and adopting flexible leave plans. Please keep in mind that all the information contained in this article is a guideline only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice.