Everyone knows it happens, especially during cold and flu season: one person comes into the office sick, and suddenly everyone who sits within twenty feet of that person is sick too. While no method is foolproof at preventing the spread of germs when in close proximity, there are a few methods that can help keep sickness to the original carrier.
1. Wipe Down Shared Surfaces
Taking care to frequently wipe down desktops, doorknobs and all shared surfaces can help prevent the spread of cold and flu germs. Further, spraying sanitizing spray onto soft surfaces can kill bacteria and viruses on soft surfaces such as shared office furniture.
2. Utilize Physical Barriers
Nothing quite beats the spread of germs like physically stopping them from spreading. For this, there are options such as plastic sneeze guards. Sneeze guards provide physical barriers between people to keep germs from traveling from one person to another.
3. Wash Hands Frequently
Make some time in your busy day to wash your hands. Be sure to use the proper method for hand washing, especially when using the restroom. You should also keep alcohol-based hand sanitizer on your desk for in-between hand washes.
4. Stay Home When You Are Sick
You can prevent the spread of your own germs by using sick time or telecommuting when you are sick. No one wants to be on the receiving end of the “evil eye” everyone is guilty of giving coworkers who come into the office coughing and sneezing. When you absolutely must go into the office sick, be sure to sneeze and cough into your elbow, use tissues and continue to wash hands as often as possible.
5. Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Keeping yourself fit and healthy year-round can help maintain your immune system to combat illness. Eating a balanced diet, exercising and ensuring you get the proper nutrients can assist your body in battling bacteria and viruses. When you notice someone sick in close proximity, be extra diligent to consume healthy foods and be sure to drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated.
If you implement all of the tools noted above, you have a fighting chance at beating germs brought into the office by your coworkers. Be sure to wipe down or spray shared surfaces, use physical barriers whenever possible, wash your hands frequently, stay home if you are sick, and live a healthy lifestyle.