4 Ways to Reduce Coughs Colds or the Flu Spreading in Your Office

Cold safety

During the winter months, coughs, colds and flu can spread through your office pretty fast, unless measures are put in place to reduce germs and infections. For employers and managers, winter sicknesses mean more sick days, low morale, and reduced productivity, all of which have negative impacts on your company’s bottom-line. However, there are things you can do to mitigate the spread of colds, flu’s and winter bugs. Here are 4 tips to reduce the spread of winter sicknesses.

Encourage Hand Hygiene

Maintaining good hand hygiene is the best way to curtail the spread of infections at the office. We pick up germs on the surfaces we touch, and we can spread them when we shake hands or when we share office equipment such as phones, keyboards, and files or do things like open doors. You should encourage everyone in the office to wash hands more thoroughly and more frequently. Some experts suggest putting up posters with handwashing messages around the office, especially in the bathroom.

You should also provide hand sanitizing products in bathrooms, lunch rooms, and tea rooms. You can even supply your employees with free wipes, tiny bottles of hand sanitizer, and disinfecting sprays which they can keep at their working stations.

Hygienic Cleaning Practices

The office should be kept clean and sanitary throughout the year, but during the winter, you should step up the cleaning effort because the stakes are much higher. You can increase the focus on touch surfaces like door handles, taps, handrails and the like.  If you clean and disinfect your office more often, you kill more germs and reduce the transmission of both airborne and direct contact infections.

To reduce the spread of germs it’s important that your commercial cleaner understands hygienic cleaning practices, and that in winter they pay more attention to the following areas:

The kitchen and breakroom. Shared equipment in the office kitchen tend to harbour a lot of germs. Items and surfaces such as coffee pot handle, microwave door handle, fridge door handle, table tops, peanut butter jars, sugar containers etc. are handled by many people, so they need to be wiped down with disinfectant or washed as often as possible.

Handles and buttons  Surfaces such as door handles, elevator buttons, water dispenser buttons, filing cabinet handles etc. are touched by almost everyone, so they should be disinfected several times during the day.

Electronics Shared electronics such as phones, fax machines, copy machines, computer keyboards, headphones, and earpieces, can act as conduits for the transmission of infections, so they should be wiped down with disinfectant as well.

Bathrooms All surfaces in the bathroom that come in contact with the skin must be cleaned and disinfected as often as possible. These surfaces include the toilet seat, the flush handle, the faucet, and the interior door handle of the bathroom.

Encourage Employees to Take Precautions

You should motivate your employees to take precautions so as to reduce their chances of contracting winter sicknesses. Encourage them to get themselves and their family members vaccinated against the flu. You can even make it easier for them to get vaccinated by bringing in a medic at the office, or by giving them time off to go to the doctors and get a flu shot.

Encourage Sick Employees to Take Time Off

The best way to prevent winter sickness from spreading is to keep the sick employees away from their healthy colleagues. That’s why it’s important to encourage sick employees to stay home, especially in the first few days when they are likely to be contagious. Some people feel they have to come in to keep their job, but when they are sick, especially in the early, more contagious stages, this is just a recipe for creating an office epidemic. If you really need to, you can always encourage ill people to get critical tasks done online if they can get access to your office systems via the internet.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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