5 Tips for Keeping Your Office Healthy During Flu Season
Dan Levenson March 09, 2017
As cold and flu season sweeps through the nation, you start hunkering down behind your desk, worried that your company will feel the effects. One employee out sick is bad enough; it disrupts workflow, makes it harder to handle daily tasks, and ensures that any clients who prefer to speak to them are going to be disgruntled.
Worse, however, is that one sick employee who comes in to work despite their illness, spewing their germs across the entire office and sharing it with everyone in the building. Suddenly, everyone from the receptionist to the CEO is sick—and that means even greater disruption.
If you want to keep your office healthy during flu season, these five tips will help.
1. Clean everything before you close up the office.
All too often, illness comes on without warning. What started as a tickle in your throat the day before, when you were freely handling everything in the office, turns into a full-blown case of the flu overnight. To help prevent the spread of germs before employees know that they’re sick, make sure that you sanitize common surfaces and clean the office at the end of the day.
2. Check that company insurance plan.
Your company insurance plan will determine if a large percentage of your employees will go to the doctor when they’re sick. Doctor visits can lead to shorter periods of illness, especially for employees who need specific medications or who need to be told to take a sick day for the flu instead of coming in with “just a cold” and affecting the whole office.
Make sure you check your company insurance plan to see how high deductibles are, how much a sick visit is going to cost employees, and what medication copays look like. If it’s not reasonable for their budgets to stretch to accommodate the amount, employees will be more likely to try to tough it out.
3. Change the company eating habits.
No, you don’t have control over what everyone in the company eats and drinks, but you can control what’s in the vending machines or sitting out on the counter. Offering hot tea in the break room, providing orange juice and water instead of soda, and updating the vending machines to include items like yogurt, granola bars, and apple slices instead of just chips and candy bars. Employees who eat healthy are better able to stay healthy throughout cold and flu season.
4. Remind employees of the company sick policy.
You know how it works. One employee comes down with a minor case of the flu but drags himself into work anyway. After all, he doesn’t feel any worse at work than he does at home, right?
Then, suddenly, everyone has it.
Remind employees that if they’re sick, the best place for them is at home. Offering work from home options that won’t force employees to use sick days is a great way to help encourage sick individuals to keep their germs away.
5. Install hand sanitizer.
Many employees won’t think to go to the bathroom to wash their hands every time they cough or sneeze—and it would be a huge time-waster if they did. If hand sanitizer is readily available, however, employees will be more likely to use it. Keep it in plain sight in high-traffic areas throughout the building. If you’re specifically worried about getting sick yourself, keep it on your desk and pass it to people when they start coughing!
There’s nothing worse than an office full of sick people. Even the ones who come in to the office will be slower, fuzzy-headed, and less competent than usual. While you can’t guarantee that your employees will stay healthy this cold and flu season, you can give them the coverage they need to ensure that when they are sick, they’ll take their symptoms to the doctor’s office instead of to yours.