Flu Season Survival Guide: Office Editionby Charles Pareigis (November 28, 2018)
Work is an excellent place for sharing! We share our ideas, responsibilities and even our germs with our coworkers every day.
Creating a healthy and productive work environment is a full-time job. But if everyone fights together, we can beat the bacteria and viruses that will be taking over our office spaces this flu season.
Here are a few ideas to implement around your office so everyone can stay healthy (and productive) this winter.
1. Stay home.
Our working attitudes and environments are very stressful and competitive, which makes it nearly impossible to take a day off work. Today more than 55% of all employees still go to work if they have a stomach bug or flu.
Make sure employees know you’d prefer they stay home when they’re sick – whether working from home or taking a formal sick day. Then create a work environment that makes that possible – and even encouraged.
2. Don’t share office mugs.
Reaching for a new mug every morning adds some variety to the standard routine, but shared office mugs are a germ’s favorite hiding place.
During flu season, have a dedicated work mug you use and wash each evening. Leave the cup on your desk each night, and don’t share it! This also applies to water bottles, cups, dishes and flatware.
3. Eat somewhere other than your desk.
The desk is one of the least-clean places in any office. In fact, the average desk contains 400 times more germs than a toilet seat!
Your phone, keyboard and mouse create a germ haven.
Make a habit of washing your hands frequently after touching these surfaces, and eat somewhere other than your desk for lunch. This keeps the germs away from your nose and mouth. If you have to eat at your desk, wash your hands regularly, and use a hand sanitizer before touching your food.
4. Stop chewing on your pen.
Winter is the best time to break that pen-chewing habit. Just think about where your pen has been, and how much bacteria it contains!
Grab a stress ball, chew a piece of gum, or take a walk when you feel yourself wanting to take some energy out on the back of that pen. And if you find yourself penless at a meeting, make sure to give any borrowed pens a good clean with an anti-bacterial wipe – and remember to keep it away from your nose and mouth!
5. Wash those hands.
We saved the best tip for last: A recent study discovered that 25% of office workers don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom.
Door handles are one of the most-touched spots in the office and are the king carriers of germs. So be sure to wash your hands after touching any public surface. You can never over wash during flu season.
Make sure your office is stocked with hand sanitizer, plenty of soap, cleaning supplies and anti-bacterial wipes. If you want to go above and beyond, keep items that prevent sickness in your office kitchen. Supplying employees with free wellness drinks like orange juice, Emergen-C and hot tea will encourage employees to take proactive measures to put their health first. And above all, remember to make it an office policy to stay home when you’re sick so one employee isn’t infecting the whole lot!
Remember taking a few extra minutes each day to prevent illness during the cold and flu season is a whole lot less work than losing multiple employees for weeks at a time.
Want to talk about more ideas for health and wellness? Reach out today – we’re happy to discuss.