Office Hygiene Etiquette during Cold and Flu Season
Practicing proper office hygiene helps to combat colds and flu at work, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Teaching your employees proper hygiene etiquette will not only keep everyone healthy and at work, it will help reduce the spread of infectious diseases throughout your community. Although many diseases are spread by dirty hands, hand washing is only one component of keeping germs in check. Here are some pro tips for helping your office or facility be keen on good hygiene.
Why Office Hygiene Etiquette is Important
The more employees you have, the greater the risk that someone will carry a cold or the flu into your facility. Once one person is sick, germs spread like wildfire through the office until practically everyone is either home in bed or sitting at their desks, spreading the plague to coworkers. Depending on your business, germs may even be spread to your vendors and customers. If employees take colds or the flu home, it may mean more time off work to care for sick children or family members.
Critical Components of Good Hygiene
The World Health Organization promotes an annual hand-hygiene campaign, stressing the importance of clean hands in preventing infection. Hand hygiene is certainly the first line of defense, but the effort must not stop there. Knowing the proper way to cover a cough or sneeze is critical (into a tissue, sleeve or elbow, but never with the hands). Prompt and proper disposal of used facial tissue (into a lined trash can) is also important. Daily cleaning of computer keyboards, touch screens (on copy machine, scanners and vending machines too) and telephones (handsets and keypads) with a disinfectant will prevent re-infection. Light switches, stair railings, doorknobs and elevator buttons are also teeming with germs, as are buttons and handles on microwaves and refrigerators. Most importantly, no matter how valuable an employee is, working in the office while sick and possibly contagious is counterproductive to workplace health.
Implementing Best Hygiene Practices in Your Workplace
Adopt a formal, written workplace policy for hygiene. Include formal training sessions for employees, at which they learn how to keeping germs at bay and protect themselves from infection. Download free hand-washing posters from the Internet and place them in restrooms, office kitchens and break rooms. Install hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the facility and provide each employee with disinfecting wipes for cleaning desks and workstation areas. Encourage staff members to get a flu shot or request that your wellness provider offer the flu shot at your facility. Establish protocols that will allow employees to occasionally work from home when they are sick, particularly if fever is present. Finally, set a good example for your staff by following these rules yourself.
Your commercial cleaning service can be instrumental in keeping office germs at bay. Town & Country Office Cleaning executes programs for killing germs, bacteria, mold and other contaminants, providing a healthier workplace for everyone. Contact them today to learn more about office hygiene etiquette and best cleaning practices during cold and flu season.