Winter is the worst when it comes to sickness, and there’s just not much that we can do about it. Right?
Not so fast! There are some common-sense – and a few less intuitive – things that you can do to help keep your workplace healthy and productive.
1. Encourage basic hygiene
Just like a lot of other things that we learn in kindergarten, adults have a tendency to forget or neglect some of the hygiene basics that help limit the spread of germs. Encourage people to wash their hands, and properly cover their coughs and sneezes. You can encourage basic hygiene by supplying plenty of tissues, hand sanitizer, and sanitizer wipes for your employees to use.
2. Clean things that get touched
Even with best efforts made toward keeping our hands clean, anything that we touch is going to harbor germs. Here’s a list of often-touched surfaces to clean (including some unexpected ones!):
- Computers – this includes both the keyboard, and other surfaces that might get touched often. Think about the edges of monitors, touch screens, and touch pads.
- Door knobs, and their cousins – drawer and cupboard pulls.
- Light switches – and other switches, too! The button on the coffee maker gets touched by an awful lot of people. And when was the last time that someone cleaned the button pad on the microwave?
You can use sanitizer wipes to clean most of these surfaces. You can also have a chat with your cleaning crew and make sure that things like door knobs and light switches are a regular part of their cleaning routine.
3. Think beyond the surfaces
Viruses and bacteria don’t just spread from surface contact, they also travel through the air. Maintaining your air quality is especially important during the winter, when the lack of fresh air contributes to poor air quality indoors.
Here are some ways to help keep your air clean, and your employees healthy and working with basic hygiene:
- Maintain your air filtration system. Make sure that any routine maintenance has taken place, and that filters are changed regularly. You can even talk to your cleaning crew. They may be happy to take up the task of regularly changing air filter.
- Use a vacuum to clean hard floors. Although it can be helpful to use sanitizing solutions on hard surfaces, doing regular cleaning of hard floors with mops, dust rags, brushes can spew dust and other particles into the air. Vacuuming sucks those air contaminants up and contains them.
4. Encourage sick days
It doesn’t feel like it’s good for productivity to tell sick workers to stay home. In the long run, however, keeping people with contagious illnesses out of the office will boost productivity and employee morale.
Here are three reasons to tell sick people to stay home:
- It prevents the spread of the disease.
If there’s anything worse than one worker out sick, it’s multiple workers out sick. Letting, telling, or encouraging sick employees to take a sick day can help to contain the spread of winter viruses.
- It helps the sick worker return to productivity faster.
Even if a sick person shows up to work and puts in a full day, we all know that nobody is at their best when they’re ill. Rest helps people recover faster, so that they can be up to full speed again when they return to work.
- It boosts employee morale.
Encouraging employees to take sick leave as necessary communicates care and concern for your employees. The sick person can feel comfortable taking time to recuperate, and the employees at work can know that you are trying to protect them from catching a contagious illness.
Wellness equals productivity
Using these best practices to contain the spread of communicable diseases in your workplace is your best bet for healthy employees who can remain productive all winter long. And if you need some help with the cleaning parts, contact a professional cleaning service and mention your specific concerns.