Finance News & Insights

Finance more vulnerable to flu than many others: your best defense


There are some professions you’d expect to be more likely to catch the flu than others. But you probably didn’t expect Finance to be among them.

Yes, doctors, nurses and teachers are especially susceptible to germs of all kind, the flu notwithstanding.

But a new report from Staples advantage says there are other professions that are also at greater risk for the flu. Specifically:

  • staffers who handle currency or credit cards, like bank employees.
  • execs who travel frequently (with a dotted line to those back at the office who handle their post-trip paperwork)
  • employees who share technology or touch other people’s keyboards, etc., including IT workers
  • folks who are under a larger than usual amount of stress and are therefore worn down (what time is more stressful than year-end in Finance and W-2 and 1099 prep?).

Many of these sound like finance staffers’ job descriptions.

To make matters worse, finance staffers are even more likely to commit the biggest misstep when they do fall to the flu: They keep coming to work!

Doing more harm than good

They’re far from alone on this one: Almost half (47%) of Americans who have the flu stay home less than two days. That’s despite the fact that they know at least three days is more appropriate (and a medical professional will tell you even longer).

And with this being Finance’s busiest time of the entire year, most staffers are going to try and drag themselves in so as not to leave their co-workers in the lurch.

But that may be the worst thing they can do.

After all, if they come in and “share the wealth” with colleagues, you’re looking at the possibility of your entire staff getting seriously ill.

Moves to make today

The good news is, there are several steps you can take to minimize the toll this year’s flu takes on your finance department – and your department members.

Consider this three-step strategy:

  1. Tell them it’s not too late to vaccinate. Yes, people have been getting the flu shot since last October. That doesn’t mean it’s too late to get one. Be advised that it takes two weeks to build immunity after vaccination, but there’s still plenty of time left in the flu season. In fact, in many places it’s just cranking up. Now’s the perfect time for a renewed push to protect as many staffers as possible.
  2.  Disinfect! It’s worth putting some budget dollars towards disinfectant wipes.  First, you want to encourage staffers to wipe down their phones and keyboards several times each day. But next think too about the shared areas, like the Finance fax machine or the photocopier – they deserve a frequent wipe down as well. Lastly, hit the areas that employees from other departments handle in Finance, from doorknobs to in-bins.
  3. Let ‘em know you have a backup plan. Of course, your flu-stricken staffers would be less likely to try and tough it out at the office if they knew you were well-prepared to be short staffed. Hopefully you have a firm backup plan in place, whether it’s cross-training to tapping temps – or a combination of several strategies. Clue your departments into this. If they aren’t worried they’ll be leaving you and their coworkers in the lurch they may take the time they need to fight the flu at home. And that benefits them and you in the long run.
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