Fall is already here and the cold weather marks the beginning of cold and flu season. No matter what you do, chances are that people will come sick to the office and increase your risk of getting the germs, as well.
Several preventative tips can help make the office a much safer and healthier place. If you’d like to keep everybody happy and sneeze-free this autumn, you’ll benefit from the following six easy to implement suggestions.
Make Sanitizing Products Available
Clean hands are very important, especially when it comes to dozens of people touching the same surfaces and conveniently spreading germs around. This is why every office should be stocked up with all of the essential sanitizing products.
Switch the traditional soap for the anti-bacterial variety.
Wet wipes and sanitizing sprays that can be used on a daily basis for keeping office surfaces cleaned will also be great for reducing the risk of having one person after the other falling victim to colds and flu.
Strict Policies towards Sick Employees
No matter how hard you try to reduce the risk of infections, a sick person coming to the office will probably lead to many additional sick leaves. While workers could think that they’re doing the right thing by coming ill to the office, you know what risks stem from such behaviors.
Make sure that you have strict policies in place and that everybody is onboard. As a leader, it’s your job to make people that have the flu take a few sick days. This way, you can prevent a much bigger office disaster.
Regular and thorough Cleaning
Professional office cleaning, especially when the right sanitizing products are being used, can also reduce the risk of illness significantly. The germs go anywhere that sick people or virus carriers do. This is why the cleaning team should put emphasis on the bathrooms, the office kitchen, the break room, common office areas and machines like printers, faxes and phones.
Replace the traditional trash bins with no-touch baskets. Disposable towels in the kitchen, the restroom and the lobby are another great option for keeping it clean.
Talk to your cleaning team and make sure that surfaces are thoroughly disinfected during flu season. Traditional detergents may be ineffective, especially if a flu epidemic is announced in the city or the particular region. A few additional measures will often be sufficient to make sure that everybody’s healthy and productive.
Encourage Employees to Get Flu Shots
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US companies lose 10.4 billion dollars each year due to colds and flu. Still, the number of people that get flu shots remains surprisingly low.
An awareness campaign at the office can inform employees about the benefits of getting a flu shot. As an employer, you can encourage the people that work for you to take better care of their health during flu season.
You can inquire about the possibility of having a medical professional stopping by the office to offer flu shots. Spreading information via an office email bulletin is another great opportunity. Finally, don’t forget to lead by example and get a flu shot yourself!
Flexible Work Day
The 9 to 5 office routine may not be a good idea at a time when employees are falling sick like dominoes. A little bit of flexibility can boost productivity by keeping everyone healthy.
Some employers feel that reducing the workday is far from the best thing when it comes to keeping processes on track and meeting deadlines. A bit of flexibility, however, will enable employees to tackle important tasks and get home on time, especially if they feel like they’re getting sick.
Another option that can be tested during flu season is telecommuting. Chances are that many employees will still be capable of doing their job from home. Giving people this freedom is another option for keeping the work process going without jeopardizing everybody’s health.
If everything else fails, try the good old poster. Printed reminders about hygienic practices can do miracles in terms of keeping the office environment healthy.
The bathroom, for example, could feature a reminder for people to stick to anti-bacterial products.
A note in the work area itself should remind employees to sanitize phones, keyboards and work areas at least a few times per week. Until these become an internalized habit, people are likely to forget. Printed reminders will definitely make the transition to a higher level of hygiene during flu season easier.
Stick to these essentials and you’ll get to beat influenza. We wish you happy, productive and fun fall that doesn’t feature coughs, sneezes and strep throats. Don’t forget to keep the office space clean and you’ll most definitely make it possible for employees to survive the fall without catching the dreaded cold.
About The Author
This is a guest post by Cliff Derksen, owner of First Impressions Janitorial, a Winnipeg janitorial cleaning service.