Staples offers products, tips to help employers and employees
through flu season
FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 21, 2013--
Nearly 90 percent of office workers come to work even when they know
they are sick, according to the fourth annual Flu Season Survey from
Staples, a leading provider of supplies that help keep offices healthy.
The findings show a growing trend when compared to last year’s findings
indicating 80 percent of workers come to work sick, and up from 60
percent in the 2011 Staples survey.
"Diligence early in the flu season ensures health and productivity throughout the season," said Lisa Hamblet, vice president for facility solutions at Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples. (Photo: Business Wire)
According to the survey, workers acknowledged that staying out three
days when sick with the flu was appropriate. The majority of workers,
however, stay out of the office for less than two days when sick,
putting coworkers’ health and business productivity at risk. The primary
reason most respondents cited for returning to work early was not
wanting to fall behind on their workload (45 percent).
The survey does demonstrate that workers have a better understanding of
49 percent of respondents understand they are contagious with the flu
virus for one day before symptoms develop and up to five-to-seven days
after becoming sick, an improvement from 38 percent last year.
76 percent of workers correctly identified the break room as the least
clean spot in the office, a sharp increase from 26 percent last year.
57 percent know that flu viruses can live on a hard surface up to
three days, a slight increase from last year; however, 66 percent of
employees still only clean their desks once a week or less, up from 51
percent last year.
“Flu season poses a big problem for businesses– each year it causes an
estimated 70 million missed workdays and billions in lost office
productivity. It’s critical that both employees and employers take
notice and promote healthier habits,” said Lisa Hamblet, vice president
for facility solutions at Staples Advantage, the business-to-business
division of Staples. “That can mean arming a workforce with simple
products like hand sanitizer to large-scale industrial cleaning products
and techniques. Diligence early in the flu season ensures health and
productivity throughout the season.”
Facility Managers and Business Service Contractors First Line of
Only seven percent of facility managers (FMs) identified the break room
as the germiest place in the office, demonstrating that even an
organization’s FM doesn’t always have the correct information. Staples
separately surveyed this group to determine challenges faced during flu
Similar to last year, there is uncertainty over the role an FM plays in
flu prevention in the workplace:
43 percent of FMs believe they’re responsible for the health of
building occupants during flu season while 40 percent say it is up to
the workers themselves.
Not even 50 percent of FMs indicated that they ordered critical
supplies to help prevent the spread of germs in the office, such as
cleaning and disinfecting chemicals.
When asked what would be most helpful for employees to keep in mind to
help prevent germs, FMs identified a wide range of preventative
measures, from washing hands and not eating at desks, to covering
noses/mouths when sneezing and cleaning desks using sanitizing products.
Staples recommends these easy steps to help maintain a healthier work
Provide appropriate supplies: Employers can help their
employees stay healthy throughout flu season by providing the
necessary materials. The top three products respondents indicated they
would like their employers to provide are hand sanitizer in common
areas (47 percent), hand sanitizing wipes on every desk (42 percent)
and touch free restroom features (39 percent).
Offer/encourage a telecommuting program: Twenty-one percent of
respondents said they come into work sick because they don’t think
they could do their work from home. One way to help address employees
coming into the office when sick would be to consider implementing a
telecommuting program – or encourage the use of an existing program.
Of the respondents whose company offers a telecommuting option, more
than 50 percent felt inclined to telecommute to avoid sickness during
Log off: While employees admit to coming to work when sick
because they don’t want to fall behind on their work, survey results
show that productivity drops to under 60 percent of norm when sick. In
order to maintain a productive workplace, employers should encourage
their employees to take the necessary time to recover when they
contract the flu, to protect not only themselves but other workers.
Helpful Resources for Businesses of all Sizes
Staples Advantage, Staples.com and Staples stores offer products and
tips to keep businesses of all sizes running smoothly during flu season.
to view product information, whitepapers,
case studies, videos, webinars
and other tools to help fend off the damage of flu
About the Survey
Staples conducted an online survey of 316 office workers and 132 FMs at
organizations of all sizes across the U.S. The survey, conducted in
August 2013, asked a series of questions about hygiene in the workplace
and flu knowledge.
Staples is the world’s largest office products company and second
largest internet retailer. The company provides products, services and
expertise in office supplies, copy & print, technology, facilities and
breakroom, and furniture. Staples invented the office superstore concept
in 1986 and now has annual sales of $25 billion, ranking second in the
world in eCommerce sales. With 88,000 associates worldwide, Staples
operates in 26 countries throughout North and South America, Europe,
Asia and Australia, making it easy for businesses of all sizes, and
consumers. The company is headquartered outside Boston. More information
about Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) is available at www.staples.com/media.
About Staples Advantage
Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, Inc.
(Nasdaq: SPLS), serves organizations of 20 or more employees up to the
Fortune 1000, including global businesses, local, state and federal
government, healthcare organizations and educational institutions. The
Staples Advantage one source solution includes comprehensive products
and services from office supplies, technology and printing to
promotional products, furniture and facility supplies. Dedicated to
providing organizations with greater cost savings and improved ordering
efficiencies, Staples Advantage provides a customized level of account
support and best-in-class customer service. More information is
available at www.staplesadvantage.com.
Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/multimedia/home/20131021005179/en/
Mark Cautela, 508-253-3832