10 Things You Can Do to Prevent an Office Outbreak this Flu Season
Flu season is upon us once again. Flu numbers were down for the 2020-2021 flu season as more people went out a got their flu shot, and businesses enforced mask-wearing and social distancing to combat the coronavirus pandemic. On top of still battling Covid-19, the 2021-2022 flu season is expected to come back stronger than ever, which can become a big problem for businesses that are finally getting back to a more typical office environment.
Getting ahead of the impending flu season can give your organization a solid plan to prevent illness and a plan of action on dealing with issues as they arise.
1. Provide Clear Guidance on Call-off Procedures in Regards to Illness
Providing clear guidance will help to reduce your worker's anxiety about calling off when they are actually sick. Making sure employees know the process will put their minds at ease and hopefully keep them away from the workplace when they are sick.
2. Promote Hand Washing
Hand hygiene is critical around the workplace as many people end up touching many of the same high-traffic touchpoints. While you can't force every employee to wash their hands when they use the restroom, keeping hand soap, and paper towels/air dryers available should increase the likelihood that employees will wash their hands. Additionally, posting signs around the office promoting handwashing can serve as a constant reminder of the importance of handwashing throughout flu season.
3. Increase Surface Disinfection for High-touch Surfaces
While many businesses began disinfection services around the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, keeping surfaces clean and sanitized can also slow down other communicable illnesses.
4. Encourage Annual Vaccination Against the Flu
Annual flu shots can greatly protect your employees against existing influenza variants that will get passed around this each season.
5. Reduce Large In-person Meetings
One byproduct of the Covid-19 pandemic is that many businesses realized they didn't need to have all of their contributors physically in a room together. Virtual meeting platforms, like Zoom, have helped countless businesses keep everyone in the meeting room without physically being in the room and risking contracting illnesses.
6. Spread Out When Indoors
Social distancing became a buzzword around the start of the coronavirus pandemic for its purported effect on reducing the spread of viral pathogens. Whether in a conference room for a meeting, or a clump of desks bunched together, spreading out your employees or placing barriers between them can decrease the rate of infection among your employees.
7. Monitor Your Building’s Air Quality, Combat Sick Building Syndrome
Monitoring air quality in your building can help you prevent sick building syndrome. Poor air quality can be caused by poor ventilation or airflow, or an out-of-date air filtration system. By tracking your indoor air quality you can prevent illnesses from sticking around in your workplace.
8. Provide Employees with Hand Sanitizer
Providing your employees with items like hand soap, sanitizer, and sanitation wipes you are promoting a more healthy workplace and can improve the health and safety of your employees.
9. Allow Employees to Work from Home (If possible)
"Better safe than sorry" is an old adage that never seems to go out of style. Allowing employees to work from home (if possible) when they or someone in close contact with them are potentially sick can greatly reduce the chance that the employee comes to the workplace and shares the illness that they may have picked up. This would be a great resource for parents whose children are a common vector for colds and flu as schools are a breeding ground for germs.
10. Continue Masking Up
It's not a coincidence that flu numbers reached record lows last year as more people than ever before wore masks while they went out in public. As a contagious respiratory illness, the measures used to slow the spread of the significantly more contagious coronavirus had huge effects on flu numbers. While mask-wearing has dipped in popularity, and mask mandates have gone by the wayside, they could be the key to keeping flu outbreaks at bay again this year.
Protect Your Team with Cleaning that Counts
Keeping your workplace clean and sanitized should always be a priority for the health and safety of your employees, but it's increasingly important throughout cold and flu season. Summit Building Services tailors cleaning plans to the needs of our customers. Our services range from daily office cleaning to disinfection services and everything in between. We work with each of our customers to create a plan that works for their needs and their building while staying within their budget. Interested in cleaning services from Summit Building Services? Schedule a building walkthrough to get your free janitorial services quote.