Keeping your Business Germ-Free this Flu Season
Winter cold and flu statistics are on the rise, so employers must do more.
Every year there’s a renewed focus on managing flu and cold symptoms in the workplace. The risks of spreading flu and related conditions in the workplace are high. Flu can still be fatal and germs spread in the workplace can be extremely debilitating if you have employees with disabilities, weakened immune systems or those who are pregnant or have young children. The CDC estimates that around 48.8 million people got sick with influenza in the 2017-18 season and their research further found that that particular season was the worst since 2009, showing more does need to be done to minimize the spread and risk of the condition.
Employers should take necessary steps to protect their workforce from germs and bacteria. It doesn’t have to be a huge change in many instances, simply putting best practices into place and ensuring your workforce are treated fairly and flexibly throughout the high season for the spread of germs and bacteria. Your employees of course have a responsibility themselves but you can put into place the right kind of culture which promotes a healthier workplace, by keeping the following steps in mind.
Flexibility for Workers
Many people still go to work when they feel sick or unwell. In some instances, a little illness, doesn’t impact upon the whole workforce. However, when it comes to coughs, colds and any condition with flu-like symptoms, this can quickly spread around the workplace and become a real problem, with many employees needing time off to recover. Employees should feel able to take time off work if suffering from any kind of sickness and employers should ensure their staff do not feel unduly worried or stressed if they cannot work. What’s more, if you’re able to offer employees the chance to work from home they still may be able to carry out many of their tasks, without risking the spread of germs around the rest of your workplace.
Create a Health-Led Culture
Time for self-care and protecting your employees health is something which all companies should value. Fostering a company culture of health-first can help ensure employees are more motivated, happy to work and able to quickly recover when time off is required. A company culture which values health and wellness is one which keeps employees motivated and more likely to act should they feel those wintry germs setting in. Similarly, once you create a culture of health and wellness, employees are more likely to act responsibly, disposing of used tissues and similar in a safe way.
Cleaning cannot be an Afterthought
Thorough cleaning should be a key priority for all employers and their staff during the flu season. Individual work areas need to be kept clean, tidy and free of clutter as this can lead to easier spread of germs and bacteria relating to flu and similar conditions. The influenza virus itself can survive for up to 48 hours on hard surfaces so keeping them as clean as possible is absolutely essential. Even touching an effected surface can result in the germs spreading and the virus infect even more people. A clean office environment helps to keep germs at a mininum and specialized cleaning services such as equipment cleaning and regular contract cleaning can help to mitigate any risks of germs in the workplace. Contracting a regular cleaning service provider who manages tasks like office bathroom cleaning, kitchen cleaning and emptying and cleaning of trash cans, helps to ensure a high level of cleanliness is maintained at all times.
Any winter cold or even worse, flu, is horrible to deal with so sharing it with your colleagues is something you should try to avoid. Responsible managers and employers should do all they can to avoid the spread of winter viruses amongst their employees. If every company adopts a culture of health-first, then the influenza statistics from last winter should be able to be reduced.