We’re already being warned that it’s going to be a particularly bad season for respiratory viruses, and we can attest that almost everyone we know is, or has recently been sick with something. When you combine that with employees heading back to the office in droves, it’s never been more important to take steps to prevent germs from spreading in the workplace! Please do not wait until you are feeling ill to start implementing these strategies.
- Wash your hands
We’ve been hearing this for years now, and for good reason. Properly washing your hands is one of the easiest and best ways to prevent the spread of germs. You should be using soap and water and scrubbing for at least 20 seconds. Be mindful to scrub well! Make sure to include the backs of your hands, in between your fingers and underneath your fingernails. Hand sanitizer also does a good job of killing germs and will do in a pinch if water is not readily available. Be sure to wash frequently, especially after using the washroom, before and after handling food, and after coughing or sneezing.
- Clean high touch areas often
Germs can travel quickly with several hands touching the same surfaces like how germs quickly grow in keyboards. High touch areas such as light switches, door handles, phone receivers, coffee pot handles and keyboards should be wiped down with a disinfectant wipe often to help kill germs and prevent their spread. Shared spaces such as bathrooms, counters, desktops, etc will also benefit from a wipe down.
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
Also, try not to cough or sneeze directly into your hands! It’s better to use a tissue or cough into your elbow. Don’t forget to wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your face
Try to be conscious of the amount of times you are touching your eyes, nose or mouth. These are entry points for germs and we touch them more often than most people realize.
- Keep your own workspace tidy
Having a messy desk (on top of being distracting) can encourage germs and bacteria to thrive. Make sure to organize and disinfect your space and throw away any coffee cups or other garbage. Avoid eating at your desk if possible.
- Stay home when you’re sick
Despite all your best efforts, sometimes you still get sick. When this happens, please stay home to avoid spreading germs to others. Make sure to rest, get plenty of fluids and recover so that you can return soon in full health! Make sure to see your health care provider when necessary.
Remember, you don’t need to be a germaphobe to practice good hygiene. While it’s impossible to completely eliminate all germs and bacteria, if everyone in the workplace takes the initiative to prevent its spread, workplace illness can be greatly reduced! Keeping the office clean and sanitary is everyone’s responsibility and the workplace can be a healthier, safer place even in the midst of flu season.