Anyone who has ever experienced true influenza or ‘flu’ will understand just how debilitating it can be. But effects of flu extend further than an individual – employers are often also left counting the cost of staff being off sick for extended periods of time.
It is estimated that the flu costs UK businesses in the region of 7.6 million working days – worth a whopping £1.35 billion to the UK economy.
A growing number of companies are attempting to tackle this problem by offering their staff free flu jabs. While not every member of staff will want an injection, offering staff the choice can benefit both them and their company.
Neath based Low Cost Vans is one such company. In fact, in line with a number of staff welfare initiatives the company has rolled out in recent years, it started offering all employees a free flu jab four years ago.
In that time, uptake of the benefit has steadily increased to the point that 70% of its staff now receive the vaccine as winter approaches. The initiative has meant healthier staff and a 15% decrease in the number of sick days in the company as a whole – a good return for the cost, which is around £15 per person.
Rod Lloyd, managing director of Low Cost Vans, said:
“We implemented the scheme primarily as a benefit to staff while also understanding that it would be a good thing for the company if there were fewer sick days as a result.
“I have to say, the staff have really bought into it. There is no pressure to do this and a few just prefer not to but the overall benefit has been very pleasing for everyone concerned.”
Lorraine Kitchin, Human Resources Manager for Low Cost Vans, added:
“Thankfully sickness absence isn’t a big issue at the company but this has certainly helped reduce the number of sick days in the winter when, unfortunately, there has always been a few members of staff who really get hit hard by the dreaded flu.
“But we see this as all part of a wider programme of staff benefits we have been rolling out for several years now. We sat down and asked what staff would really want if they worked hard here and we attempted to make that possible. From flexible working to different types of bonus for length of service to team building exercises, we just try and be as staff-friendly as we can possibly be.”