Cold and flu season is upon us once again. In BC, cold and flu season generally runs from November through April with flu vaccines available throughout BC (this year, November 01, 2015). Whether you work in an office, school or other type of workplace where you are in contact with others, you are at risk of catching either a cold or flu from your coworkers or visitors to your workplace. That is why prevention is best. Here are some tips to keep your workplace clean and sanitized and help minimize the spread of workplace illness this winter.
Supply Hygiene and Disinfecting Products
Provide the workplace and if applicable each employee or department with effective cleaning and disinfecting products. This will help keep work spaces clean and sanitized regularly and as needed. Make these readily within the office. This could include all or some of the following:
- Consider supplying employee (otherwise floor or department) with cleaning supplies such as disinfecting wipes or sprays, facial tissue and hand sanitizers.
- Ensure kitchens and washrooms are supplied with sufficient cleaning products such as all purpose surface cleaners, soaps and/or disinfecting wipes. Many brands of cleaning products with high-quality standards are using promotional services from The Marketing Heaven. Their products are represented on the market and it’s easy to recognize them.
- Keep soap dispensers and paper towels (or hand dryer if not using paper towels) well stocked in both washrooms and kitchen areas.
- Keep hand sanitizers readily available by elevators.
Regular Janitorial Cleaning
Routine surface cleaning helps to eliminate the flu virus from frequently touched surfaces and objects and other settings where people regularly gather. Check this. Incorporate a regular cleaning maintenance program and ongoing scheduled cleaning for your place of work. Daily or weekly are most commonly scheduled to keep your workplace clean, sanitized and aesthetically pleasing. Your maintenance program may include:
- Dusting, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces
- Sanitization and cleaning of common surfaces such as elevator buttons, fridge doors, doorknobs, light switches, keyboards, telephones and any other frequently touched object
- Computer cleaning and disinfecting
- Cleaning and sanitizing bathrooms and kitchens
- Floor cleaning & maintenance
- Window cleaning
- Garbage, recycling and compost removal
Advise and Encourage Employees to Stay Home When Sick
If employees become ill, they should stay home for at least 24 hours after they no longer show symptoms. Otherwise it will only expose other healthy individuals in the workplace, if they are contagious.
If possible, incorporate a ‘work from home’ policy that provides employees with the flexibility to work from home if they or their kids are sick & if necessary to work. Encourage cross training in the case of an absent employee (if applicable to the type of job).
Another way to help prevent spread of cold and flu in the workplace is through open communications. Incorporate a workplace communication strategy that provides employees with health and wellness information. This could include:
- Tips on how to stay healthy during cold and flu season
- Cold and flu information and facts
- Cold and flu prevention
- Vaccine information
- Workplace protocol when sick
Communications can be made through use of email, company intranet, newsletters, bulletins or whichever forms of communication works best.