Date published: October 26, 2018
At this time of year germs are rife and colds & viruses can quickly spread within the office environment. To help keep our staff healthy throughout the winter months we have sent a ‘wellbeing starter pack’ through to each of our regional offices complete with antibacterial wipes to keep workstations clean, and hand sanitizers to be placed in high-traffic areas such as break rooms and near printers/copiers.
We take the health of our staff seriously, and have taken advice from the following article to ensure that our workforce remains healthy and productive throughout the colder season.
Article adapted from Tips & Advice: Personnel (2018):
The autumn and winter months coincide with the cold and flu season. What hygiene rules can you introduce to stop germs and sickness absence from spreading through your workplace?
The start of autumn means that the cold and flu season is also about to get underway. For the average employer, this results in a higher level of sickness absence and lower productivity from those workers who drag themselves in when sick. Whilst some workplace sniffles are inevitable, there are steps that we can take to reduce the likelihood of staff picking up a cold/flu virus from work. What do we need to do?
Locate the Hotspots
Start by identifying the areas that germs love to inhabit and spread. Totaljobs.com found that workplace germ hotspots are desks, fridges, PC keyboards/mice, mugs, door handles and photocopiers. In other words, work surfaces that staff handle or touch the most. Separate research found that communal coffee pots contained 34 times the number of germs found on school toilet seats.
Keep it Clean
You need to ensure that high-risk areas are disinfected regularly and appropriate cleaning products are used. The most effective are anti-bacterial as they kill over 99% of germs. In the right conditions, a single bacterium can multiply into over eight million cells in less than twelve hours. For this reason, regular use of anti-bacterial wipes should be considered, especially in the autumn and winter months.
Better Hand Washing
Another major contributing factor in the spread of germs in the workplace is the failure of staff to wash their hands properly. Hands should be washed thoroughly for at least 20-30 seconds with soap in hot water. Backs of hands should also be washed as they often brush against infected surfaces.
Tip: It is a good idea to keep a small bottle of hand sanitiser on your desk. Everyone should aim to wash their hands on arrival at work too - this reduces the transfer of germs that may have been picked up on public transport, for example.
An often overlooked source of germs is the mobile phone, especially if it’s used during a trip to the toilet. Whilst staff will hopefully wash their hands properly afterwards, they’re unlikely to disinfect their phone and, over the course of a working day, it’s likely to be placed on various surfaces in your workplace, e.g. meeting room tables.
Tip: It’s advisable to leave phones in your pocket or bag when visiting the toilet.