It’s that time of year again — cold and flu season is in full swing. Unfortunately, these types of illnesses can spread quickly, especially for people working in close quarters. While the workplace can be a perfect environment for the spread of germs, there are things you can do as a business owner to maintain your health and the health of your employees. Here are some useful tips to help contain the spread of the flu this winter.
Encourage Employees to Get a Flu Shot
So far this year, there have been thousands of influenza cases in Massachusetts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of the first and most effective ways to prevent the flu is by getting an annual flu shot.
Keep Surfaces Clean
You might think that someone needs to cough directly in your face to catch their cold, but that’s not the case. The common cold and flu are both airborne illnesses that most often spread when someone touches a contaminated surface and then touches their face or mouth. Surfaces that are touched by many people, such as computer keyboards, desks, phones, doorknobs, faucets, and vending machine buttons, are all locations that can contain high levels of bacteria — which is why it’s important to regularly clean these surfaces to keep them germ free.
Wash Your Hands
Just like cleaning the surfaces you touch, it’s important to keep your hands clean too. Remind employees of the importance of keeping their hands away from their faces and of washing their hands often to reduce the spread of germs — especially before eating.
As a business owner, it’s important to have a plan in place of how to handle sick employees. Depending on the situation, it may be best to have sick employees stay home instead of coming into the office to avoid them spreading their illness to their coworkers. Consider if working at home is feasible, and if it is, go over guidelines for doing so with employees.
Remember, a person is contagious up to seven days after becoming sick. It’s recommended that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
Stock the Office
Create an environment that is ready to battle germs. Keep things like tea bags, orange juice and water in the office kitchen to help employees stay hydrated. Healthy snacks like yogurt, fruit, and nuts can also provide antioxidants and vitamins to help boost immune systems. Make sure safe cleaning supplies are also readily available for everyday cleaning of items like door knobs and keyboards.
We know getting sick is never 100% preventable, but taking the steps to help stop the spread of germs is in everyone’s best interest. We hope these tips help your business work as a team to guard against illness this cold and flu season and to make sure everyone stays healthy and productive in the workplace.