How to reduce workplace absenteeism and increase productivity this flu season

How to promote positive hygiene habits across your business.

With seasonal illness occurrence expected to continue this year, following a resurgence particularly after the reopening of international borders in 2022[1], Reckitt Pro Solutions is sharing actionable advice for businesses on ways to promote positive hygiene habits this winter season.

Over the past three years, businesses across a wide range of industries have faced challenges – from staff shortages in Victoria[2], through to inflation[3].

In January, one of Australia’s warmest months, around 90,000 – 100,000 people are usually away from work due to sickness for an entire week. However, in January 2022, we saw that number jump to around 450,000 people per week[4].

Jonathan Weiss, commercial director for global business solutions EUANZ at Reckitt said: “Reckitt Pro Solutions understands the importance of running and maintaining holistically successful businesses, but also acknowledges there are many different factors at play. Following and committing to a rigorous hygiene and cleaning program can offer businesses the opportunity to provide a better environment for staff.”

Here are a few simple ways that you can promote positive hygiene habits across your business to ensure your staff and visitors are protected from the spread of germs:

Work closely alongside cleaning teams to identify high-traffic areas and hotspots within spaces, aligning on the frequency at which they need to be disinfected with efficacious and efficient products.

  • Remind employees to stay home if they are unwell[5].
  • Encourage and remind employees to keep their hands clean, washing their hands with soap for at least 20 seconds[6]. Importance of this peaks during crucial times such as after using the restroom, following a commute and before eating.
  • If washing hands isn’t possible, encourage staff to carry hand sanitiser on their person. Research has shown that high-touch points such as door handles[7] and hand dryers can become contaminated by dirty hands, which can be transferred to the hands of the next people who touch them[8].
  • Continuously assess the effectiveness of initiatives and programs by collecting feedback from employees, monitoring sick leave trends, and making adjustments as necessary.

The Australian treasury estimated that 31,000 people missed work each day in the month of June 2022 alone, due to ongoing health issues associated to contracting COVID-19[9].

If establishing a healthy workplace isn’t prioritised, the costs associated with sick leave, and needing to replace those workers can lead to a potential productivity issue that can impact the overall business[10].

[1] Australian Government Health, Influenza,

[2] Victorian Government, Workforce challenges are likely to persist,

[3] ABS, 2023, Price indexes and inflation,,the%20public%20sector%20rose%200.7%25.

[4] ABS, Hours Worked Fall More People Sick or Leave

[5] Australian Health, Protect Yourself and Others,

[6] Dettol, The Importance of Hand Washing | Dettol Australia,

[7] Rheinbaben FV, Schünemann, S Groß, T, Wolff, MH, 2000. Transmission of viruses via contact in a household setting: experiments using bacteriophage φX174 as a model virus, Journal of Hospital Infection, Volume 46, Issue 1, Pages 61-66, ISSN 0195-6701,

[8] Safe Work Australia, Hygiene – Retail, supermarkets and shopping centres,

[9] Productivity Commission Australian Government. 5-year Productivity Inquiry: A more productive labour market,

[10] Safe Work Australia, Healthy workers & workplaces,

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One thought on “How to reduce workplace absenteeism and increase productivity this flu season

  1. Thank you for reminding !!
    Just 1 year later from Corona Quarantine and people’s already forgot all necessary actions against this dangerous thread and even simple rules didn’t following during last six months.
    Corona is just transformed hard flu which is awaiting to catching up during starting flu season and winter.
    #beaware #fluseason #coronawarning #hygieneandsanitation

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