We have all been there. You walk into the office and are greeted by the smell of Lemsip and the sound of someone trying and failing to hold back a cough.
In the workplace, it can seem as if every season is flu season. To maintain your workplace health and wellbeing, you must protect yourself from sickness bugs.
Unfortunately, almost 60% of employees admit they go to work when they’re sick. And with so many people touching shared surfaces, the workplace is a likely place to catch a sickness bug.
Here are our top tips for protecting yourself against bugs and looking after your workplace health and wellbeing:
Wash Your Hands
We’re sure you don’t have to be reminded to wash your hands. It’s something you do out of habit every day. But when sickness bugs are circulating the office, its best to wash your hands more often than you usually would.
Always use soap and warm water and dry your hands with a hand dryer or paper towel. Bathroom hand towels and kitchen tea towels are full of germs and best to be avoided!
A combination of washing your hands regularly and using sanitiser throughout the day is the best way to avoid catching germs and stay healthy in the workplace.
Keep Hand Sanitiser, Disinfecting Wipes And Tissues Nearby
These items are often supplied by your employer. If not, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for them, after all, it is in your employer’s best interest to keep yourself and your colleagues healthy.
Surprisingly, a colleague sneezing or coughing in the office is not the main way that germs are spread (although it certainly doesn’t help). Most germs are spread when a person carrying a sickness bug touches a commonly used and shared surface.
In an office, everything from the desks to the fridge are shared. So, before you go to make a coffee, think about how many germs are on that coffee machine (Yuk!).
To avoid picking up germs from shared surfaces, sanitise your hands regularly throughout the day and wipe down any frequently used surfaces such as your desk, telephone and keyboard with a disinfecting wipe.
Unfortunately, most cold and flu germs can last up to 3 days on a surface and stomach viruses can last up to 30 days. So even if nobody in the workplace is sick, you should still wipe down surfaces with disinfecting wipes and sanitise your hands regularly to maintain your workplace health and wellbeing.
Get Some Fresh Air To Improve Your Workplace Health and Wellbeing
It’s true what they say, fresh air really can do you a load of good, especially when it comes to looking after your workplace health and wellbeing.
Instead of eating your lunch at your desk in an enclosed office full of sick people, go outside and take a walk or eat your lunch at the local park.
As well as giving you a much-needed break from the sickly environment of the office, going outside for some fresh air will also reduce your stress levels and improve your overall wellbeing within the workplace.
Encourage Sick Colleagues To Go Home (If You Can)
The best way to protect yourself from a sickness bug in the workplace is to stop the spread of infection before it starts. If you notice that your colleague is looking pale or complaining of having a sore throat, fever etc. suggest that they go home and rest.
Similarly, if your colleague is already sick when they come into work, explain that the office isn’t the best place to be with a sickness bug and encourage them to go home.
Reassure your colleague that you will help out with their workload so that they can stay at home until they are feeling better.
Don’t Touch Your Face
Washing your hands, sanitising them regularly and wiping down your desk can reduce the number of germs on your hands, but it cannot get rid of them completely.
Spreading germs onto your face is one of the quickest ways to catch an infection so avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes and mouth.
Also, be wary of who you’re making contact with. If someone is sick, try to avoid shaking their hand or even getting too close to them.
Bring Your Own Mug
We know it may seem slightly over the top to bring your own coffee mug to work. But when sickness bugs are spreading through the workplace, bringing your own mug may be necessary.
Studies show that 90% of office mugs are teeming with germs and cleaning them in the office sink won’t get rid of the unhealthy bacteria because the only thing more germ-ridden than the mugs, is the sponge you’re cleaning them with.
Office sponges are breeding grounds for germs and should be avoided at all costs!
Take Care Of Yourself To Protect Your Workplace Health And Wellbeing
The more you look after your health and wellbeing, the better chance you have of fighting off an illness.
An unhealthy immune system will struggle to fend of sickness bugs so try to eat healthy both at home and in the workplace and get plenty of sleep. Also, exercise regularly, drink lots of water and try to avoid stressful situations.
You spend much of your time at work, so looking after your workplace wellbeing will improve your overall health.
Get In Touch With The Workplace Health And Wellbeing Experts
If you want to find out more about protecting yourself from sickness bugs and improving your workplace wellbeing then simply contact Wellspace today. You can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 0808 178 0748.
Wellspace are the leading experts in workplace wellness, so we can help you increase your workplace productivity and get the most out of each working day.