People seem to come down with a cold or the flu when the weather changes. The temperature changes aren't the direct cause of the illnesses. Rather, the temperature shifts permit a different group of viruses to flourish, and these viruses make people sick. But no need to worry: there are plenty of things your office can do to protect employees from catching these viruses. There is a list of some ways to prevent the flu from spreading at your office.
DISINFECT YOUR OFFICE TO STOP THE FLU AT WORK
Think the toilet seats in the communal restroom are nasty? They're nothing compared to the surfaces where you handle your lunch. Microwave buttons, coffee pot handles, sink faucets and break room counter tops are among the most germ-infested surfaces in your office. Other high-traffic surfaces, such as door handles and copier buttons, are harbor loads of germs. Every time we go out into one of those common areas, every time we shake hands with someone, every time we touch anything, we bring germs back to the desk.
Disinfect these spots. Wipe down nightmare surfaces with disinfectant wipes about three times per day during cold and flu season. Wipes contain disinfectants and can be used shared work tools, letting those who use them touch these items without spreading germs to other users. Besides including the antibacterial chemicals commonly found in disinfectant sprays and solutions, many wipes are also hand-friendly, including moisturizer and promoting overall skin health. When choosing the products for your workplace, remember that many sanitizers and solutions are not effective against viruses. Check labels to ensure the products you choose are both safe for use around workers and effective against common office health threats.
If you're so inclined, suggest the disinfecting policy to your cleaning company, or do the wiping yourself. Ask for the tools to create a healthy workplace. How does one disinfect without disinfectant wipes? The same goes for hand sanitizer, soap and tissues – these wellness products need to be visible and available for employees to actually use them. These are key tools that help to keep the personal space clean, which in turn helps the whole office become healthier.
As for your desktop, wipe it down once a day. If you’re the kind of person who heats up your food and then sits back down at your desk, think about wiping down the surface of your desk before you drop some food on it.
WHAT THE OTHER MEASURES THAT CAN HELP?
Make it Easy for Employees to Get Off-Site Shots
It’s important all employees know when and where they can get vaccines: get a list of all local vaccination sites or print out a map and post it in the office kitchen or breakroom. Hopefully the employees are allowed to leave work briefly to get a flu shot.
Keep the Flu Out–Literally
If you don’t want the flu to spread, don’t let it into the office in the first place. Use your sick days. It’s about you," she says. "But it’s also about all the other people you could possibly affect. Ensure that you can remotely access work emails and documents, and minimize travel and exposure with options such as teleconferencing or video conferencing.
Wash your hands
Washing your hands often and thoroughly (for at least 20 seconds in warm running water – the length of about two "Happy Birthday" songs) is considered the most important thing you can do to avoid catching and spreading germs. Be sure to wash your hands before and after eating, after you have used the loo, and after sneezing or coughing.
Cover your mouth and nose, don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth, keep an appropriate distance
Keep away from people who appear to be ill or who you suspect may be ill. Cover your nose and mouth if someone sneezes or coughs near you and avoid shaking hands with others.
Lead a healthy lifestyle
A strong immune system is one of your best defenses, so keep yourself as healthy as possible. That means eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, drinking plenty of water or herbal tea, getting plenty of sleep, exercising and minimizing your stress. Avoid excessive alcohol and smoking, as they will compromise your immunity. Supplements such as vitamin C or multivitamins may also help.
Sounds like the makings a productive workplace!