You can’t play sports, you look terrible, and people avoid you. No, this isn’t a high school flashback; it’s the flu. Sickness in the workplace causes missed deadlines, sloppy work, and overall low morale. Luckily, catching the bug at work can be avoided, unlike those pesky awkward teenage adventures. Here are 5 tips to prevent you and your employees from getting sick.
# 1. Keep personal spaces clean
Breaking News: Your desk is the dirtiest place in the office!
Your phone is by far the worst germ offender. Touching and breathing close to the headset all day creates a breeding ground for contagens.
The keyboard and desktop are the next hazards. After your very important phone call, you might scratch your nose, pull up your favorite blog, put your hand over your mouth while you read, and finally start typing a brilliant comment.
You’ve just transported germs to and from everywhere on your desk and it’s not even your lunch break. Be sure to make sanitation supplies accessible to employees and schedule your janitorial staff to take special care of desktop areas.
# 2. Maintain a germ-free zone
Bathroom faucets, elevator buttons, door handles all are high sources of germs as well. Everyone uses these communal devices before entering the work environment. They carry bacteria or viruses with them.
As a boss you can’t be expected to monitor every person entering the office, but you can encourage cleanliness. Simply and strategically place hand sanitizer bottles at entrances, reception desks, and conference rooms.
# 3. Keep your employees aware during flu season
While you can clean your work environment all you want, ultimately, each employee has to prevent themselves from getting sick. Best practices like: “Wash Your Hands” have been ingrained in us since childhood, but every year it seems we need some reminders.
Post signs with prevention tips that employees can use. They can be particularly effective in restrooms, behind doors, or above sinks. Increase awareness during flu season when hygiene is particularly important.
# 4. Encourage your employees to get vaccinated
Some of your employees may want to get a flu shot, but can’t find the time. Employers lose an estimated 70 million work days due to influenza in an average year. Consider it an investment: Sacrifice one extra work hour for each employee and hedge against losing them for a week.
# 5. Don’t be a hero
Don’t promote a “tough it out” atmosphere. Calling in sick is often viewed as a shameful or weak act in an office environment, yet it’s the responsible thing to do. Even if you never intend to be intimidating, almost 50% of employees fear discipline after taking a sick-day. Bosses should encourage their sick employees to go home.
After all, it’s a lose-lose scenario to come into work sick. Without rest, the sick-employee is not productive and makes mistakes. Furthermore, they take more time to get well and are more likely to spread illness throughout the office.
So, if you don’t want your whole office coughing over quarterly reports, do the responsible thing: tell any sick employee to go home and sleep.
For more useful info visit: FacesofInfluenza.org, WebMD, and CDC Prevention Tips
What other ways do you keep healthy at work? Does your company have specific practices you use to prevent illness in the office?
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