Winter is coming, and with it an ancient enemy rises once again. I am, of course, speaking of the flu. Every year many of us suffer at the hands of the cold or flu virus, accepting our fate because ‘it’s the cold season.’ It’s understandable, most people accept contracting the office bug as it can be hard prevent illness spreading.
But, this year, I say no more. We must take the fight to the enemy and prevent illness spreading in the office. This is our guide on how to prevent illness spreading in the office and making it through the winter without getting sick. Heed it well, for the days are becoming shorter and the night is dark and full of terrors.
Wash your hands
To be honest, if you don’t do this at least semi-regularly, I don’t want to be around you. In the office, everyone touches everything. Everything.
When a sick colleague sneezes or coughs, even if they cover their mouth, it can spread. The germs are now on their hands. Door handles, laptops and light switches, all that they touch is a potential catalyst for infection. Not even the biscuit tin is exempt from the spread of bacteria. The flu virus can survive on surfaces for up to eight hours so make sure you, and your employees, wash your hands regularly.
Keep your distance
Sickness spreads in close quarters. You can’t stop your employees sneezing and coughing, but you can advise them to be sensible. It’s bad enough to get sick from a doorknob, but it’s entirely their own fault if they get it from a handshake.
Be sure to tell them not to touch the infected, lest their pestilence spread!
Don’t touch your face
At this point, I feel like all our advice so far is ‘don’t touch anything, ever’. But, your employees should know germs can last for more than an hour on your skin. So, if they touch a contaminated surface, then touch their eyes, mouth or nose, they can get sick.
So, in the office, play the ‘Game of Faces’ with your employees, the rules are simple – even if you’ve recently washed your hands, don’t touch your face.
Boost your immunity
There are many potions, pills and natural remedies out there that people say prevent or cure the common cold. It’s debatable how effective different remedies are. For example, there is no proof that Echinacea works, but there is evidence that Zinc supplements can reduce how long a cold or flu lasts. Advise your staff to do some research and find out what works before they spend any money.
Keep warm, have a steam or sauna
A 1989 German study found that people who visit a sauna or steam room twice a week got half as many colds as those who don’t. This is because you breathe in air that is so hot it kills any cold and flu viruses you may have. So, even if your staff contract the cold in the office, they can burn it away at the sauna.
Keep healthy and exercise
Employees can boost their immune system through a healthier lifestyle and exercise. They should make sure to eat a balanced diet and get enough sleep. As for exercise, around 30-minutes a day is the ideal amount. This doesn’t have to be pushing themselves in the gym every day. It can be as simple as walking instead of taking the bus, or taking the stairs rather than the lift.
Don’t be afraid to take a day off
Sometimes, despite taking every possible preventative step, people can get the cold or flu anyway. If your employees are sick, they shouldn’t be afraid to take a duvet day. Yes, they may lose some time on a project that they’re working on but it’s better than getting other people sick.
So, encourage your staff to stay home and get better. After all, it’s better to have one sick employee than a full department off because of cross-infection. Remember, if they absolutely must, employees can work from home.
The shield that guards the realm of your office
In the game of colds, you either win or get sick. With our advice, you will be able to keep you and your employees infection free. Keep a keen eye out; it is up to you to prevent illness spreading in your office. The cold season has come and now your watch begins.