Avoid the Winter Flu in Your Office

Avoid the Winter Flu in Your Office

After months of agonizing through sweltering, hot days, cold weather is finally here. With fall ending and winter knocking on your door, you can already feel the holiday season in the air. Unfortunately, the cold season brings more than picturesque countrysides blanketed by snow and cold evenings by the fire. With fall and winter comes peak flu season.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, otherwise known as CDC, a host of influenza viruses are active year-round. However, in the United States, the number of cases hike from December to February. 

Depending on the severity of a case, catching the flu is manageable. A sick person, for the most part, only needs a couple of days off from work and a lot of water to recover. Nevertheless, while there is still much research to be done, you can never be too safe especially in the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

Preventing the Spread of the Flu in the Workspace

As a business owner, it is your responsibility to make sure your office is winter-ready. The office is a prime space for the flu to spread. After all, employees tend to touch the same things around the workspace. They also are cooped up in an air-conditioned area for at least 8 hours a day.  

Thankfully, there are steps that you can do in order to avoid the spread of the winter flu in your office:

Encouraging Flu Shots Your Employees

In the last few years, there have been plenty of controversies surrounding vaccines. For the record, none of the claims have been proven true. Vaccines available in the market are safe and effective. 

The flu vaccine, in particular, is effective in lowering your risk of catching the seasonal disease. In most cases, the risk of transmission is reduced by 40% to 60%. If you do get sick, getting a shot can soften the effects of the disease. 

Develop Strict Sick Leave Policies

Most employees are averse to taking sick leaves because they don’t want to make a bad impression. To be fair, there are companies that frown on workers that maximize their PTO benefits. 

In order to circumvent this problem, stress the importance of using sick leaves accordingly. Advise employees to stay home if they have been sick for 24 hours or if they have a temperature of 37.8 celsius or higher. 

If there is space in your operational budget, make remote work available to your workers. This way their output isn’t completely affected by having to stay home. 

Encourage Hand Washing or Hand Sanitizing

If there is one thing the current pandemic has revealed it is the importance of proper handwashing or sanitizing. Proper and frequent handwashing techniques can effectively halt the spread of disease. The keywords, however, are proper and frequent. 

For the most part, hand washing effectively entails the following: 

  • Washing the hands for at least 20 seconds – making sure that every inch has been rubbed and scrubbed. 
  • Using warm water and soap and drying the hands completely after hand washing. 
  • Hand washing after using the bathroom or before eating a meal. 
  • Using hand sanitizers if hand washing resources aren’t available. 

Educate Employees About Proper Respiratory Etiquette  

The flu is spread from person to person. According to experts, flu viruses are spread through droplets that are transmitted when a sick person talks, coughs, or sneezes. Usually, these droplets can reach a person that is six feet away.

In order to prevent the spread of the disease in your workplace, there is respiratory etiquette that all employees must follow. This can include: 

  • Covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing. 
  • Disposing of the tissue after use. 
  • Washing the hands after coughing or sneezing. 

Make Cleaning Materials Readily Available

Most employees are deterred from washing their hands and sanitizing regularly because cleaning materials aren’t readily available. In order to encourage and build this habit in the workplace, make sure that hand washing areas and hand sanitizers can be found throughout the office. 

Making these materials part of your office operational budget might seem like an additional expense but these are investments in your employees’ health and wellness. 

Maintain a Clean Workspace 

There are plenty of benefits to maintaining the cleanliness of your workspace. Beyond preventing the build-up of pathogens, a clean office encourages productivity and builds employee morale. 

There is no mystery to keeping an office space. Below are just a few steps that can help ensure that your work area is always in tip-top condition:

  • Clean surfaces, including the floors, daily. Daily maintenance doesn’t have to be laborious. Surface disinfection is often enough. 
  • Schedule deep cleaning services from professionals a few times each year. 
  • Keep a steady stock of cleaning materials available. 

Avoiding the Flu in the Office as an Employee

Aside from imposing office flu guidelines, as a person who has to be in the office for hours on end, there are things that you can do to prevent catching a cold. 

Keep Your Hands Clean

Again, washing your hands is one of the best and easiest things that you can do to prevent catching a cold. It only takes 20 seconds of your time so make sure that you leave no crevice untouched. 

Eat a Healthy Diet

Eating a healthy diet builds your immune system. If your immune system is strong, it is able to fight off pathogens without any difficulty. As an office worker, it is understandable how convenient it is to eat out and order in for every meal. However, taking the time to make your own meals with fresh produce is not only a healthier option but it is cheaper as well. 

The pandemic has stressed the importance of maintaining a clean environment – both at work and at home. A clean space can be the difference between making the most of the fall and winter season or weathering through the holidays sick. The steps above can help ensure that all your employees get to enjoy the best of autumn and winter.