Preventing the flu and common cold from spreading at work always becomes a priority this time of year. Flu season unofficially starts in the fall and runs through May, but it peaks in February. The facts are clear: this year is shaping up to be one of Chicago’s worst flu epidemics in recent memory.
Whether you’re an employee or an employer, are you confident you’re doing all you can to avoid the misery of this year’s influenza and rhinovirus outbreaks?
You know how quickly a contagious illness can spread through a busy office and an entire building. Effective cold and flu precautions in workplace settings depend on everyone doing their part.
Workplace Sickness Prevention: 8 Tips for the Flu and Cold Season
When you consider the financial impact of flu in the workplace, the numbers are stunning. Estimates put the cost of lost productivity at more than $9 billion, and that doesn’t include downtime at home when the whole family’s sick.
With the entire country affected, everyone needs to do as much as they can to help control this year’s outbreak. As Chicago’s leading commercial cleaning company, we offer these 8 cold and flu prevention tips for the workplace.
1. Make Hand Washing Routine
Of all flu precautions in the workplace, this is one of the most important and easiest to implement. Post instructions for efficient hand washing in bathrooms and break rooms, and stock both with plenty of antibacterial soap.
2. Assign and Rotate Duties
Put together a comprehensive workplace sickness prevention plan. Assign different individuals to distribute supplies, take care of touch points and empty trash. Keep the schedule fair by rotating designated duties once a week.
3. Distribute Flu-Fighting Supplies
Keep tissues, hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes within easy reach on every desk. Make sure these flu-fighting supplies are available at work stations and all common areas. Empty nearby trash cans on a regular basis.
4. Keep Meetings High-Tech
Transform your building into a flu prevention network by holding meetings across smartphone and desktop platforms. Replace face-to-face time with conference calls, chat messaging, intra-office emailing and video conferencing.
5. Consider On-Site Flu Shots
Check with your company’s health insurance carrier, and discuss offering on-site flu shots through a local health provider. Flu vaccinations can be a very effective part of workplace sickness prevention planning.
6. Stay Smart With Cleaning Products
Sanitizers and disinfectants work differently. Read labels to be sure you’re using each one correctly. CDC guidelines for these products in school settings are also applicable to the workplace.
7. Wipe Down Touch Points
Practice flu safety in the workplace by disinfecting touch points throughout the entire building. Wipe down keyboards, tools, light switches, doorknobs and bathroom fixtures. If someone touches it, disinfect it daily.
8. Implement a Stay-Home Policy
Preventing a flu and cold outbreak depends on minimizing exposure, so make it clear that no one should come to work with a fever or bad cough. Supervisors should send employees home at the first sign of illness.
The Flu-Season Advantages of Hiring Professional Cleaning Services
Commercial cleaning companies offer important advantages and services to property owners and tenants during flu season. Dirty air duct systems distribute air-borne microorganisms, and flu microbes can survive on soft surfaces for up to 12 hours. A commercial cleaning contractor helps combat flu and cold at the workplace with a variety of industry-certified techniques including:
• Disinfecting all surfaces, common areas, floors and carpets.
• Bringing in advanced fogging systems to sanitize the entire building.
• Setting up heavy-duty air scrubbers that purify and circulate indoor air.
Combined with air duct cleaning and upholstery cleaning, these affordable services can be strategic advantages during flu and cold season. They’re especially effective when applied across an entire commercial property.
Keeping the Workplace Healthy
We still have several months to go before this flu outbreak runs its course, so talk with others in your office and your building. Share our flu and cold prevention tips, and add your ideas through our Comments Section. We can all deal with this historic flu season a little easier by working together.
Our teams are available with certified, professional cleaning techniques that keep workplace environments healthy and safe. We’re proud of our reputation as the most trusted commercial cleaning service in Chicago and the suburbs. You can always count on us here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba.