As fall and winter come on, people start getting sick. It’s just a fact of life: cold-and-flu season hits every year, and we have to do our best to get through it. Unfortunately, one of the most likely places you’re going to pick up a cold or flu is at work. As an employer, there are some things you can do to help keep your team healthy and productive—despite all the sickness inevitably going around at this time of year.
Colds and flus are most contagious at the very beginning of the infection, before people have any symptoms. This means that you may not even know that you’re sick yet but are already getting other people sick. Here are a few measures you can take in the workplace to prevent yourself and your staff from falling ill, causing a decrease in morale and productivity.
Improve Indoor Air Quality
Poor air quality is a major factor in weakened immunity and health problems, but we often don’t give a second thought to our indoor air. To get fresher air flowing through your workplace, ensure proper ventilation, don’t use chemical-laden air-freshener sprays, invest in a few air-purifying houseplants, and check out these other tips for reducing indoor air pollution.
Encourage Healthy Practices
As an employer, it is your responsibility to make sure your employees know the right way to take care of themselves at work, so encourage healthy practices at all times—and especially when that nasty flu bug is going around.
Make sure employees know that you’d prefer if they stay at home when they are sick—if they come in to work they’ll be unproductive and just infect other staff members. Many people see calling in sick as them failing or letting you down, so be sure everyone knows that’s not the case! Staying home when sick is the responsible, considerate course of action, not a cop out.
Be sure that hygiene supplies are readily available and well stocked at your workplace. Keep a supply of hand sanitizer, tissues, soap, paper towels, cold meds, herbal teas, and disinfectant wipes for cleaning desks and surfaces on hand at all times.
If you are able to, give employees time off to get the flu shot if they choose to do so. Sometimes people who want to get it just can’t find the time—so give it to them!
Wash Your Hands Throughout the Day
Regular, thorough hand washing is so important. It protects you from other peoples’ germs and prevents you spreading your own germs. Make sure you always wash your hands with soap and warm water after:
- shaking hands with anyone
- riding public transit
- blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- using the washroom
Avoid Touching Your Face
If you have germs on your hands (which you do pretty regularly during cold-and-flu season), they are more likely to cause infection if they are transferred to your face—particularly the eyes and mouth. Try not to touch your face very much, especially if you haven’t just washed your hands.
Reduce Workplace Stress
Stress leads to weakened immune systems and illness. A positive company culture and supportive work environment will go a long way in increasing employee health. Make sure your team feels valued at work!
Fun team-building activities are a great way to reduce stress and increase health no matter what you choose to do, but it’s even better if you plan a bonding event that promotes health. Do a team yoga class, sign up to take a healthy cooking lesson together, or participate in a charity run as an office.
The best way to get rid of germs? Clean them away! Hire a reliable cleaning team to keep your workplace spotless on a regular basis and make sure that special attention is paid to high-touch areas such as doorknobs, elevator handles, and computer keyboards.
Anago specializes in cleaning offices and various other commercial facilities. Our franchisees know exactly what areas and objects are the most likely to contribute to the spread of sickness and will make sure to clean and disinfect these thoroughly, every time.