Now that the cold air is here, we’re all moving indoors. It’s nice to be cozy, but close proximity during cold and flu season has its down side. As Mom always said, “Wash your hands!” While it is good for your personal health, it is also good for business. Sick employees are not productive at work and can spread germs, while healthy employees use less sick days.
Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and he was probably talking about cold and flu season. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.”
Offices are arguably more challenging than home when it comes to spreading bugs because often offices are not cleaned as well as home. This is where it becomes a shared responsibility. Regularly touched items in the office (phone, computer, stapler, etc.) should be cleaned/disinfected with disinfecting wipes, along with desks, tables, doors and door handles. Certainly cleaning your workspace is easy – and while you have the wipe in your hand, clean the door handle or shared copier! When everyone does a little a lot gets accomplished.
Another item is personal cleanliness. As you touch others (handshakes and high fives) germs can spread. You should wash your hands often, and the CDC recommends 20 seconds each time (roughly the equivalent of humming “Happy Birthday” twice.) Try to limit contact with your coughing coworker.
Keep hand sanitizer at your work space. Avoid sharing straws, glasses and other food utensils in the office. Try not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth.
It’s always a good idea to cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Not doing this is a little gross, and there is science around why this is a good practice. According to the CDC, “people infected with the flu may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.” The chances are good you’ll be exposed to illness – and if you have school aged children, the chances go up dramatically.
If your best efforts fall short and you find yourself feeling sick, stay away from the office. You won’t be helping yourself, your coworkers or your business by spreading germs.
For information on financial health, I invite you to learn more about our Lunch and Learn program. My team is available to come to your office and share timely, practical advice on a variety of financial topics. Our no-cost programs are less than an hour long, and we bring lunch! This is a fun opportunity for you and your coworkers to get tips, ask questions and share a meal.