Flu Season is here and in full swing, and many of you are probably fighting off the germs with as much vigor as you can muster. Germs and illness can strike anywhere so it’s important to be on constant alert, whether you’re at home, in your car, on the bus, or at the office. Believe it or not, your work environment can have an enormous effect on your health. To aid you in your annual struggle against the flu, we at King’s Heating have put together this little list of tips and strategies for keeping your office healthy and germ free.
- Clean Hands (at the right time!)– Make sure to keep your hands clean when interacting with others, while eating, and after using the restroom. Keep bottles of dispensable hand sanitizer in common area’s (receptionist desk, bathrooms, eating areas, conference rooms, etc.) and wash your hands before you eat.
- Clean Surfaces– Keep an arsenal of sanitizing wipes and sprays to keep surfaces clean and germ free.
- Immune Boosters-Provide employees with a stock of single serving immune boosters like EmergenC or AirBorne that they can use at their discretion.
- Use Fans– Opening a window is probably not your best bet; a cold draft can carry germs into your office. But fresh air is still important; keep an oscillating fan on a low setting to avoid overly damp or stagnant air, where germs thrive.
- Covering your mouth– This might seem obvious but many cover their mouths inefficiently while coughing or sneezing. First of all, avoid the hands; coughing or sneezing into your cupped hands is an easy way to transfer your germs to another. It is best to use a handkerchief, or if one is unavailable, to sneeze or cough into the part of your sleeve that runs along the inner crook of your elbow.
- Clean your keyboard- Computer keyboards can actually be one of the most germ infested regions of your office. It is necessary to protect yourself and others by cleaning your keyboard as often as you can, using sanitizing wipes or specified keyboard cleaner.
- Keeping a water bottle (and keeping it clean!)– Using your own, reusable water bottle is a useful tactic when attempting to avoid germs. It helps you to avoid sharing germs with others, and as long as you keep it clean, your water will be germ free!
- Door knobs, phones, desks, etc…– While your dirty keyboard was already mentioned above, there are a number of other germ hotspots to be found around the office. It is important to identify these spots and to clean them as frequently as possible. Its best to start with objects that are touched by multiple hands throughout the day.
Working from home and sick days
- STAY HOME!– Many are adamant about continuing to work through an illness, but this is a dangerous attitude to have. If you feel sick enough to be contagious, or you think the day’s productivity will be affected by your sickness, it’d be best if you stayed on home.
- Working from home- Discuss the availability of working from home with your boss or employees this flu season. If you feel sick and some of your work can be done remotely, working from home is an effective strategy to maintain a stable workflow, while also keeping the rest of your office healthy!
Company morale and productivity
- Stress– The link between stress and illness has long been a topic of study for many academics. Bottom line: high stress can leave you susceptible to illness. Do what you can to avoid stress: think positively, exercise, and stay productive. It is also beneficial to try and avoid inflicting stress upon others when and if possible.
- Think of the team! – When facing issues of illness within the workplace, it is extremely important to think beyond yourself and your own illness. Take stock of the overall productivity of your office environment and concern yourself with how that productivity might suffer if multiple members of the team were to fall ill. It might be worth the small sacrifice of taking a sick day to avoid infecting the rest of the office.