Flu season is here. We should do everything we can to keep ourselves and our families safe. While Flu season is unpredictable, there are many steps we can take to keep ourselves safe. One of the ways to reduce the spread of flu is to prevent the spread at our office or work environment.
Flu germs can spread before anyone even realizes they are sick. Prevention is key to helping reduce the risk BEFORE any symptoms appear. There is not a way to 100% remove the risk. But below are ways to reduce the risk and reduce the impact of the flu at work:
- Clean and sanitize all high touch areas
You can’t eliminate all germs in an office. You can dramatically prevent the spread of germs by addressing high touch and high spread areas.
Cleaning high touch surfaces reduces the chance of germs getting there and staying there. Flu germs can live for up to 8 hours on hard surfaces. Daily sanitation is necessary to kill these germs and prevent the spread of illness.
For sanitation, make sure you use the right cleaners. The CDC advises using cleaners that contain chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, detergents (soap), iodophors (iodine-based antiseptics), or alcohols.
In addition to using the right cleaners, make sure you use them the right way. By following the instructions, you can remove many of the germs on high touch areas.
What are high touch areas? A few of the areas include:
- Doorknobs and door handles
- Tops of desks
- Keyboard and mouse
- Hand tools
- Phones and tablets
- Light switches
- Toilet handles
- Get people out!
The best way to prevent disease is to get the sick people out of the office. You will want to encourage anyone that is feeling sick to stay at home. One sick person can infect an entire office. It may be worthwhile to re-examine and re-emphasize your paid time off for sick days.
- Encourage good cleanliness habits
Encourage good cleanliness habits by reminding people of what good habits are and posting signs. Good habits include keeping yourself clean, being attentive to your interaction with others, washing your hands frequently, and keeping a safe distance during key times of the year (3-5 feet). Along with good cleanliness habits, provide cleaning materials so employees can keep their areas clean (sanitation wipes and sprays).
The CDC has 5 tips for handwashing (including humming the Happy Birthday song twice). Handwashing tips.
- Encourage good health habits
We can’t prevent all sickness. But we can minimize the impact of a virus or sickness on ourselves by being healthy. What are good habits? Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night, eat healthy and nutritious meals, exercise daily, and follow doctor’s orders for boosting your immune system.
- Outsource your office cleaning
Most office staff are not well-versed in the amount of cleaning and sanitation that is necessary.
Professional cleaners are trained in the best ways to reduce germs and increase overall cleanliness. Professional cleaners know what products to use, how to use them, as well as the areas that need special attention.
- Don’t forget the floors
Germs don’t just gather on desks, computer keyboards, and doorknobs. The floor can keep the flu virus alive long enough for someone to touch it and become infected. The flu virus can stay alive on hard surfaces like hardwood floors 48 hours as well as in carpet.
You should consider hiring a reputable commercial floor cleaning service that knows what products to use and how to use them on different types of flooring.