“Oh, it’s no big deal, it’s just a cold.” How many times have you heard an employee casually dismiss an illness like this? As a manager, it’s imperative that you inform employees of how easily common infectious bugs such as colds and influenza (flu) spread from one person to another.
Remind your workforce of the steps they can take to minimize the chances of catching and spreading cold, flu and other germs around the workplace.
- Wash your hands. Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have ready access to a washroom, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. It’s not as effective as hand washing, but it’s better than nothing.
- Keep your hands off your face. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, which enables germs to directly enter your body and set up shop in your respiratory or digestive system.
- Cover up. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and then trash the tissue immediately. If a tissue isn’t available, cough/sneeze into your upper sleeve, rather than your hands, says the CDC (Centers for Disease Control).
- Keep your area clean. Most office cleaning companies or custodial staff don’t touch employees’ desks and computers. So it’s up to you to wipe the germs off your desk, phone, mouse and keyboard, not to mention remove the crumbs that get lodged between the keys.
- Beware of communal areas. According to the CDC, some germs can live for two hours or more on surfaces. Think about how often the Copy button on the copier is used. And don’t forget door handles. Tip: Use hand sanitizer immediately after touching these and other commonly touched spots around the workplace.
- Stay away. The fewer people you come into contact with, the less chance you have of catching something. Certainly, avoid close contact with people who are obviously sick. Tip: If you’re the one who’s sick, stay home to prevent spreading your germs everywhere.
Online resource: Access more CDC information on preventing the flu, plus free downloadable materials, here.
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