You’ve got to act fast to fight off colds, flu and other germs. Sanitize and clean surfaces and regular hand washing are important to create a healthy environment but promoting good nutrition and boosting your immune system is also the most effective way to stay healthy at work.
Researchers in the USA have found that when someone is sick in an office, it takes only four hours for surfaces like coffeepot handles, copy-machine buttons and the fridge door to show traces of infectious viruses. Considering that this winter there has been something of a flu outbreak, the worst since 2010-11, sniffles, coughs and sneezes are common sounds at the office at this time of year. While you can’t keep your office completely germ-free, you can take a few simple preventive measures to keep your office clean and your employees as happy and healthy as possible.
Sanitize your office space
Clean everything that gets touched by lots of people; kettles, microwaves, fax-machine keys, doorknobs, lift buttons, the armrests on your chair etc. with a good disinfectant at least once a week, even if it looks clean.
Encourage employees to work at home
Giving employees the option to work at home keeps germs away from the workplace and reduces the risk of other co-workers becoming sick.
Practice and promote good hygiene
Promote regular hand washing in the office and provide employees with their own box of tissues and a waste basket to dispose of germ-filled tissues. Cleaning stations posted near office entrances and antibacterial wipes in common areas such as meeting rooms, reception areas and the kitchen can also help to reduce the spread of viruses.
Encourage employees to speak up
Encourage co-workers to let each other know that they aren’t feeling well so others can take proper precautions. Let your employees know that it’s OK to go home when they are feeling sick. While shaking hands may be a common courtesy in the meeting room, announcing that you’re suffering from a cold and simply saying hello rather than shaking hands won’t be considered poor etiquette.
Promote good nutrition
The best way to prevent the cold and flu is improving your body’s resistance to the virus. Dietary changes can boost the body’s immunity. Help protect employee health by ditching the morning muffins and pizza parties and stock the office kitchen with healthy and nutritious alternatives such as nuts, fruit and green veg.
And finally to stop flu spreading
- Always carry tissues
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
- Throw used tissues in the bin
- Always clean your hands