Bunzl staff abseteeism

The Real Cost of Staff Absenteeism

Find out how to minimize illness in your workplace his cold and flu season…


There’s nothing worse than trying to get through the work day with a runny nose, cough and when you generally feel unwell. Not to mention that your coworkers will probably try to avoid you so they don’t get sick, too. Unfortunately, employees miss work every year around cold and flu season and it ends up costing businesses a lot, in lost wages.


The Real Cost of Staff Absenteeism

On average, Canadian workers miss about two weeks of work per year as staff absenteeism includes time off for minor illnesses and longer-term leaves of absence. The Conference Board of Canada estimated that these absences cost the Canadian economy $16.6 billion in 2012. It used data collected from organizations and found that, on average, staff absenteeism cost businesses 2.4 per cent of their gross annual payroll in direct costs. Not included in that figure were indirect factors that can’t be easily calculated, like reduced productivity from being sick, increased stress from an increased workload and additional administrative costs for handling employee absences.


Preventing Staff Absenteeism

Preventing staff absenteeism comes down to protecting your facility from a cold and flu outbreak. While some types of staff absenteeism can’t be avoided, like absences to care for family members, preventing a facility from a flu outbreak is manageable. Here are some best practices to follow to help keep your facility flu-free:

  • Ramp up your workplace cleaning and disinfecting. Use trusted solutions to disinfect germ hot spots like door handles, phones, keyboards, elevator buttons and other employee common areas.
  • Ensure that hand soap and sanitizer are well-stocked so employees can effectively wash their hands.
  • Stock your workplace with tissues and make sure that garbage cans are emptied regularly.
  • Encourage your staff to get a flu shot. A quick needle prick for a flu vaccine can reduce the risk of flu illness between 40 to 60 per cent.


Promoting a healthy facility will not only make your employees feel better, but it will also help reduce staff absenteeism at your organization.


At Bunzl, we’re experts in facility cleaning and disinfecting. Find out how we can help you prevent the spread of infection this cold and flu season…