Study: 90 percent of workers come to work sick

As flu season approaches, coming to sick work can be more harmful to the company's overall productivity.

As flu season approaches, coming to sick work can be more harmful to the company's overall productivity.

The fourth quarter may be approaching, but so is flu season. This contagious virus can have the potential to get many more people sick if they are not taking the proper preventive measures, such as taking the flu shot in advance or keeping shared work spaces clean.

Unfortunately, too many workers are afraid to get overwhelmed by their work-related tasks, so nine-out-10 staff members will try to make their way to the office–even if they are not feeling physically up to it, according to a survey from Staples. Working under the weather can do more harm than good to the office's workflow. In some cases, the strain could become an issue across the organization, infecting multiple departments.

"Flu season poses a big problem for businesses–each year it causes an estimated 70 million missed workdays and billions in lost office productivity," Lisa Hamblet, vice president for facility solutions at Staples Advantage said in the press release. "It's critical that both employees and employers take notice and promote healthier habits."

Before the holidays are in full swing, human resources should take the time to remind staffers to look into the company's HR software solutions. This portal is where employees can access their pay stubs, paid time off and sick day requests. If an individual is unable to go to work because it would put the department at risk, he or she can submit a notice about the need to take a sick day.

Even though workers have become increasingly more aware of where not to be when they are feeling under the weather, it may not always be enough. For example, the study found that 57 percent of workers are aware that the flu virus can live on a hard surface for up to three days, but without sanitizing commonly touched surfaces, people are still at risk.

If an employee is beginning to feel sick, employers may want to offer additional alternatives like working from home or telecommuting. This way, the staff member is less likely to feel pressured to report to duty if they can complete most of their tasks outside of the office.