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Survey: Flu poised to make workers, businesses ill this season

November 13, 2012

FRAMINGHAM, MA — Nearly 80 percent of office workers polled come to work even when they know they are sick, according to the third annual Flu Season Survey from Staples, an increase of 20 percent over last year, according to a press release.

fluFor those that stay home, more than two-thirds return to work when they are still contagious, putting coworkers' health and business productivity at risk, the release stated.

Staples offers solutions to help maintain a healthy workplace by keeping things clean — whether a home office, small-to-mid-sized business or large enterprise — from simple items, such as hand sanitizer, to large-scale industrial cleaning products and techniques, the release noted.

"At Staples, we know that companies are already doing more with fewer resources, and flu season has the potential to impact productivity," said Lisa Hamblet, vice president for facility solutions at Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples.

"Prevention is key and using the right supplies is critical. Products like hands-free soap, paper towel dispensers, disinfectants and sanitizers, along with staff awareness, can help keep an office healthy," Hamblet added.

According to the release, survey data shows office workers continue to make avoidable mistakes that fuel the spread of germs:

  • 51 percent of employees only clean their desks once a week or less, even though germs can live on surfaces for up to three days, especially on the keyboard — typically one of the dirtiest personal workspace items.
  • 25 percent believe that door knobs/handles are the dirtiest places in the office, while only six percent recognize that the break room sink is actually the dirtiest, followed by the office microwave, which only eight percent selected.
  • 65 percent feel the number of days necessary to be out of the office with the flu is one to three days and often return to work contagious, as the flu virus may be contagious for one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick.

Click here to read the release in its entirety.