Looking to improve employee health and wellness in the workplace? The cold and flu season is the time of year when it often feels as if getting sick is just inevitable. The workplace is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to spreading germs.
More than ever before, employees are feeling pressured not to skip a day of work even when they’re ill. In fact, surveys report that 52% of American workers feel guilty about calling in sick.
Most offices have a nightly custodial crew to clean up, so there’s nothing more you can do, right? Wrong. It turns out that you’re the first line of defense in protecting yourself against unwanted germs and viruses. Cleaning crews generally do a cursory vacuuming but don’t touch your desk. Here are a few easy steps you can take to ward off the next epidemic.
Employee Health Tip #1
If you’re truly ill, call in sick
A University of Arizona study placed one flu-infected employee among several dozen healthy coworkers. Within four hours, more than 50% of surfaces and employees were also contaminated with the virus.
Employee Health Tip #2
Wipe down your keyboard, phone, and desktop daily
Use a disinfectant. Most office keyboards contain 70% more bacteria than a toilet seat! Germs pass through the air quickly but settle on surfaces, where they can last for up to 18 hours. And they increase by up to 31% a day on surfaces that aren’t regularly disinfected.
Employee Health Tip #3
Don’t use other people’s phones
For obvious reasons, office phones have been shown to host about 25,000 germs per square inch.
To avoid having food collect and produce more bacteria in your keyboard, use an aerosol duster to clean out the tight spaces between your keys.
Employee Health Tip #4
Don’t eat at your desk
Food can fall into your keyboard, where bacteria can survive and multiply. Clean your food containers immediately, or take them home every day.
Employee Health Tip #5
Consider replacing your old furniture
Upholstered furniture can store germs over time. Consider buying remanufactured furniture »
Employee Health Tip #6
Purge your cubicle area and get organized
A more spacious desktop will make it easier to keep it clean and germ-free. Add a few plants to improve air quality. Get eight steps to a more organized desk »
Maintaining a clean and orderly cubicle will go a long way in keeping both you and your coworkers healthier this flu season. It will also boost your image with colleagues and visitors, and improve your productivity.
You can use organizational tools such as paper trays, standing file holders, bookshelves, baskets, and drawer dividers to keep your desktop both stress- and germ-free.