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Illness Etiquette: Avoiding Absenteeism during Flu Season
In the UK, the annual cost to businesses of sickness and absence is estimated at a crippling £29 billion each year. To make matters worse, UK employees are said to take four times as many sick days off-work as some of their global counterparts - a statistic any manager would be keen to improve! Luckily, there’s certain things you can do in the office to stop you from getting (or spreading) illness in the workplace. We’re bringing you our top tips to help keep your office up and running during the impending winter flu season.
Image Courtesy of Arlington County
Wash your hands regularly
Without wanting to state the obvious - washing your hands is a must, research has shown that up to one in five don’t! In order to effectively rid your hands of germs, use warm soapy water to thoroughly wash them - this is especially important before eating, after using the toilet, when you’re ill or after you’ve been outside.
Fight germs with tissues
Did you know one sneeze can spray up to 3,000 infectious droplets into the air at more than 100 mph? As such, it’s vital that you cover your mouth and nose - keeping plenty of tissues on hand to prevent the spread of infections. Cold and flu viruses can also live on tissues for up to 24 hours, by ensuring your office is stocked with antiviral tissues - you can stop other employees catching your cold.
Image Courtesy of Robert S. Donovan
Keep surfaces clean and disinfected
Make sure your cleaning cupboard is stocked up with antibacterial and antiviral products. Sinks, taps and door handles are often to blame for the rapid spread of office illness - so it’s essential to keep them sanitised. Disinfectant wipes should be used regularly to rid desks, keyboards and other surfaces of germs - minimising the risk of infection.
Be wary of the office kitchen
Office kitchens can be breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses, so it’s important to be safe when using these facilities. Always thoroughly wash shared utensils before using them, or use disposable products if you can. Don’t forget to ensure you wash tea and coffee cups regularly before you drink from them - don’t give viruses an easy way in!
Keep contact to a minimum
If you suspect someone is ill, or you absolutely need to be in the office while you’re unwell - try to minimise physical contact with your co-workers. Politely explain you’re unwell - giving them a chance to step-up their defences. You should also avoid shaking hands or close contact with anyone in the office during flu season - keeping the possibility of cross-contamination to an absolute minimum.
Keep fit and healthy this winter
Make sure you get plenty of sleep during winter months - staying well rested is key to keeping immune system up and running. Having a well-balanced diet, drinking plenty of water and taking part in regular exercise will also keep the flu at bay and allow your body to bounce back from feeling unwell.
If you’re ill, stay at home
Most importantly, if you’re ill, stay at home! Most companies can be flexible as to where you work, so if you don’t have to go into the office then stay put. This way, you’ll be less likely to infect your co-workers, and will recover quicker yourself. At Eden Springs, we know the importance of keeping your workforce fighting fit - that’s why we supply offices all over the UK with eco-friendly water coolers. Our water coolers provide the ultimate solution to keeping your workforce hydrated and health. Take a look at our range and stop your business from losing any more money through preventable illness!