Workplace health tips: cold and flu prevention in the office

Workplace health tips: cold and flu prevention in the office

Flu season peaks in January, but that’s no excuse to let your office turn from a productivity zone into a school nurse’s office. Keeping you and your employees cold and flu free can be prevented, if you plan ahead of time. Here are some tips for wintertime wellness in the workplace:

  1. Know where the germs hide.

When people think of germs, they think of toilets and trash, but the reality of the situation is, germs often hide in plain site. A good rule of thumb to remember is that the more something is touched, the more germs it accumulates. Think off all of the things in your office you interact with on a daily basis. Sure, this means doorknobs and elevator buttons, but it also means your phone, your mouse, and your keyboard. Fight germs in these everyday places by cleaning with antibacterial wipes on a regular basis. Offer cleaning supplies to your employees so they can help contribute to the fight against germs. When everyone works together, your office will see better results.

  1. Clean out the fridge.

The office fridge is a place where horror movies become real. Often a cesspool of expired food and unmarked Tupperware, the fridge is an excellent breeding ground for germs. Encourage cleanliness by initiating a weekly fridge cleanout time. A good rule, for example, might be that anything left in the fridge at the end of the day Friday gets tossed. This rule will promote kitchen cleanliness, and encourage employees to keep tabs on what they’ve stowed in the kitchen. The same goes for the microwave and the coffeemaker. Clean these appliances clean to prevent the spread of germs.

  1. Watch where your sneeze.

Though it might not be the full-fledged flu, a little wintertime sneeziness puts everyone at risk. When you sneeze, millions of vapor particles are propelled through the air at astounding speed, increasing the risk of sharing germs between coworkers. To avoid a sneeze-epidemic, furnish your employees with ample boxes of tissues, and be sure that used tissues make it to the trash. Also encourage the use of hand sanitizer after sneezing, as well as throughout the day.

  1. Be realistic.

Sure, preventative measure can help to reduce the spread of illness in the workplace, but when it comes down to it, sometimes people just get sick in the winter. Avoid the spread of sickness by being lenient with sick day policy. Send home workers who seem too sick to work and encourage employees to stay home when they are newly sick and especially contagious. Not only does this practice encourage work-life balance and shows compassion for a sick colleague, it helps minimize the rest of your officemates’ exposure to colds and flu. A little bit of prevention goes a long way, but prevention can only go so far. Focus on stopping the germs, but focus on stopping the spread of the sickness, as well.

Workplace health is easy to promote with just a little bit of effort at the beginning of the winter season. Use these cold and flu prevention tips to help keep your coworkers happy and healthy all the way until spring.

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