Winter equals cold, dark mornings, which do little to raise cheer in the joy of workers. And, in offices and factories, we’ve got the added issues of contagious illnesses to contend with, too, as we rush to put the central heating on and barely move from our desks/work station for hours at a time.
Working in close proximity to others in poorly-ventilated rooms (because who wants a window or door open in the midst of a snowstorm?!) means germs can fester and spread. Once one person gets cold or the flu it’s nailed on that their colleagues will also catch it.
So, is there anything employers and employees can do to reduce the chances of catching what Bob has, as he huddles over and splutters in the corner? Or to reduce the harvesting of the germs Jill has brought in for the past week as she continually dragged herself into work?
Here are our top tips for all employees, on how to keep as well as can be over the winter season.
Wash your hands!
It may seem simple, and perhaps it’s an automatic thing we do when we’ve used the loo; however, when your office is a varying hotbed of germs and bacteria, it’s wise to wash your hands even more often than this. Whilst hand gel is a convenient solution, soap and water have been proven to remove a greater number of germs.
Infections are spread easily. Even when we’re not ill, we subconsciously touch our eyes, ears, noses and mouths hundreds of times during the day; more so when we’re feeling under the weather. It only needs us to subsequently touch a door handle, fill the kettle, press the photocopier button…for a germ to be picked up by someone else.
Handwashing can prevent around 20% of coughs and colds, and 30% of sickness bugs, so it’s worth stepping up your washing regime when someone is suffering in your workplace.
Cough or blow into a hanky
As we’ve already said, the spread of germs is so easy and unconsciously done. If you feel a sneeze coming on, strive to capture everything you expel into a tissue or handkerchief; airborne germs can otherwise transfer from person to person.
Germs can remain a threat for hours, even when captured in a tissue. A huge push on controlling germs saw the ‘Catch it. Bin it. Kill it’ campaign, which resurfaces each winter, with good reason.
Carry a pack of tissues with you if you’re full of cold, make sure you put your used tissues in the bin straight after use (rather than having them lying around your desk – ew!), and hopefully, there’ll be a greater chance of the germs being killed or the infection failing to spread further.
If you’re infectious, stay at home
You may think you’re doing the noble thing, dragging yourself into work when you’re at the outset of a nasty cold or flu occurrence, but you could actually make things worse for your boos and workmates.
If you’re a loyal, committed worker, as the majority of employees are, you may believe you’ll be badly thought of by your manager if you call in sick; however, if there’s a danger that you may infect the entire office, we’re sure they’d much rather you stay put.
One person down is an inconvenience, five or ten people off work could constitute a crisis, depending on the size of the workforce. If you’re infectious, stay in bed!
Love your immune system
By keeping a check of your overall health, you’ll be less likely to catch a cold in the first place. A healthy immune system will be able to fight most common viruses and stave off a dreaded cold, which limits a virus’s overall reach.
Take regular exercise and eat your five-a-day – perhaps even more during winter – to maintain robust health.
Clean your surroundings regularly
This one is an obvious recommendation from us, as commercial cleaners, but it’s common sense. A dirty, grimy working environment allows germs and bacteria to grow and fester, which has obvious implications on employees’ health.
Routine cleaning, as well as intermittent deep, thorough cleans, will help to keep your workplace sterile and limit contagious diseases and infections.
Call Pristine Commercial Cleaning Services on 0800 7311 763 or complete the contact form on our website for a no obligation quote.