It might seem counterintuitive to learn ways to keep your office healthy as the spring flowers begin to bud, but the cold and flu season continues to linger, which means that there’s still a good chance you could get very sick if you’re not vigilant. Sure, you have a janitorial service that visits regularly, but they’re not on hand 24/7.
How do you keep yourself in good health even when those around you are hacking and sneezing? Here are some simple tips to keep your office healthy and stay healthy yourself.
Use Sanitizing Wipes to Keep Your Office Healthy
Invest in package of sanitizing wipes to keep at your desk, wiping down your workspace before you start your day. Pay special attention to the “hotspots,” or the areas that are frequently touched; these include your phone, light switch, keyboard, desktop, mouse, and frequently used office supplies, such as your stapler or scissors. According to a University of Arizona study, the average worker’s desk contains nearly 21,000 germs per square inch— compare that to the 49 germs per square inch found on an office toilet seat!
Wash Your Hands
Of course, you should always wash your hands after you visit the restroom, but are you washing them long enough? You should wash for a minimum of 20 seconds, but make 30 seconds your goal. Scrub them with soap and warm water, so you can completely dislodge any organisms from the surface of your skin.
Hand washing isn’t just for using the restroom. If you move about the office throughout the day, or come and go for lunch and breaks, wash your hands after doing so. It’s easy to pick up germs from door handles and other surfaces as you move about the building.
Avoid Visibly Sick People
Every office has the die-hard person who refuses to stay home, even when it’s clear they should be in their bed, not at their desk. Do your best to steer clear of anyone with a constant cough or a clearly runny nose. If you must come into contact with that person, be sure to wash your hands immediately afterward.
Stay Home When You’re Sick
Turnabout is fair play; you’re not going to keep your office healthy if you bring your own germs in with you. If you must go to work, be careful to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Sanitize your space and wash your hands frequently, and avoid touching your coworkers whenever possible. (And, as soon as you can, GO HOME!)
Stick to Healthy Habits
If you start out healthy, you’re less susceptible to illness. Drink plenty of water, eat healthy foods rich in vitamins, and be sure to get your rest every night. Perhaps you could start an officewide initiative to get healthy together; regular exercise classes that meet at the office, healthy foods for meetings, and a water cooler to ensure that the staff is well hydrated can create a culture of healthiness that might stave off illness.
Talk to HR about Education to Keep Your Office Healthy
See if your HR department has considered educational campaigns to keep employees informed on how to keep your office healthy. Here are some examples:
- Articles in employee newsletters
- Hand washing posters in the restrooms
- Encouraging employees to cover their cough and sneeze into their sleeve instead of their hands when a tissue isn’t available
- Providing extra tissue boxes and hand sanitizer throughout the office, especially during cold and flu season
- And perhaps even making it a team effort to sanitize certain high-touch areas of the office such as vending machines and coffee centers daily. Either ask for volunteers or rotate the assignments so everyone takes a turn once a week.
When your janitorial service is doing its job effectively, your office will be healthier, but it’s up to you to keep your office healthy when they’re not available. If you’re not confident that your service is doing everything they can do to make sure that your office is properly disinfected, contact us and get a quote today.