The kids are back in school and it is officially that time of year again: the beginning of flu season. Summer is over and everyone is indoors much more again escalating the spread of disease-causing germs. There’s no way around it, flu season is upon us and it can be challenging to beat the odds this time of year and stay healthy. No one likes sick kids, runny noses and such but for a business, exposure to the flu and other common yet costly illnesses can cost big money over time in absenteeism, productivity and even employee morale.
Butting getting hit a few times during cold and flu season is unavoidable, isn’t it? Not necessarily, best practices by your employees and your professional commercial cleaning service can greatly reduce your exposure during cold and flu season and save you money. Are your employees aware of how to reduce the likelihood of contracting common communicable illnesses? And does your commercial cleaning company employee best practices to safeguard your employees and customers against increased disease transmission?
At work close quarters, people and communal surfaces paired with ill-informed sick etiquette can spread illnesses like wildfire and result in heavy absenteeism. Yet there are steps you can take to minimize the spread of disease and maintain a healthy work environment. You can help your people remember a few tips to stay healthy this season and you can check in with your commercial cleaning service to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Does Your Commercial Cleaning Service Puts Health & Safety First?
Limiting the spread of flu and colds is closely tied to your commercial cleaning service. A healthy work environment and reduced disease exposure can be increased when your commercial cleaning services contractor adequately trains their team to on how to clean to reduce bacterial, viral and other common infectious diseases. If you cleaning company isn’t doing this, you may only be getting a ‘surface clean’ that means almost nothing when it comes to the spread of disease.
Is Your Cleaning Service paying attention to "Touch Points?”
Does your commercial cleaning service understand the critical importance of touch pointsgoo in limiting the spread of germs? If they don’t, you aren’t getting your money’s worth from your cleaning service. Proper cleaning of touch points is a must when it comes to maintaining and maximizing a healthy work environment. Public “touch points” like light switches, business machines, elevator buttons, stair rails, telephones, door handles and other frequently used surfaces are disease-friendly petri dishes of bacteria and viruses. These areas should get regular attention from your commercial cleaning service.
Does Your Commercial Cleaning Service Use Their Products Correctly?
Sure your commercial cleaning company has pathogen-fighting cleaners but are they using them properly? Do you know that most germ and bacteria fighting cleaners have what is called a “dwell time?” This means that the cleaner must be applied to a clean surface and then allowed to sit for a certain amount of time before being wiped clean in order to effectively disinfect. It is great to have effective products but if they are used improperly, they are largely useless. A properly trained, commercial cleaning company understands the concept of clean first, sanitize second and will be trained in best practices to maintain a healthy work environment and minimize the spread of flus and colds.
Encourage Employees to Wash Hands Frequently
Your mother was right, “wash your hands!” A clean and safe work environment is compromised by people forgetting to regularly wash their hands. It is a good idea to make sure your cleaning company is adequately stocking hand washing supplies so employees have no obstacles to regular hand washing. Your hands are viruses and bacteria’s best friends when it comes to getting from place to place. Frequent hand washing cuts down on the spreading of disease causing contagions. Viruses can survive on your hands for several minutes and they can live on hard surfaces like phones, computers, office machines and more for as many as two days. It is a good idea to wash your hands without fail before eating and drinking; after using the bathroom, touching high-hand-contact surfaces, blowing your nose, assisting an ill person, and handling any chemicals.
From Hero to Zero: Sick Ettiquette
What many employees don’t know about how to conduct themselves when ill could fill abook, a very germy, icky book. The old practice of covering your mouth with your hands to cough and sneeze got it all wrong. You might not see them but the droplets that come out when we cough or sneeze carry the flu virus and other contagions to people and surfaces creating less the healthy work environment and more the petri work space. If you forget “coughing etiquette” and accidently cough or sneeze into your hands, wash them immediately before touching anything around you. The best thing to do when you are coughing and sneezing is stay home. You may feel pressure to get the work done but productivity declines and absenteeism skyrockets when one sick person gets multiple coworkers sick. People who come to work and get other people sick are not heroes. And for goodness sake, keep your hands out of your mouth, eyes and nose. Viruses, bacteria and contagions generally enter the human body through the eyes, nose or mouth, and your fingers touch objects and surfaces that may be replete with disease-causing viruses and bacteria. Also consider that it’s okay to opt out of hand shaking and other polite but germ spreading social conventions, especially if you are ill or recovering.
The Flu Shot
Because no matter how much you educate people about sneezing, coughing and hands in the mouth and nose during flu season, some people will do it anyway. See Dick? See Dick with his finger in his nose? See Dick borrow Jane’s pencil? See Jane go home with the flu. Poor Jane. The flu shot is designed to assist your body in building the antibodies needed to protect you from the flu. When used on healthy adults and children, the flu shot can prevent the flu nearly 90% of the time. Unlike many other vaccinations, you must get a flu shot every year as strains of influenza and the flu change from one season to the next. Flu shots are safe for most people, effective and generally available free or at a very low cost. Ask your doctor if you might be a good candidate for a flu shot.
Taking these preventative measures to protect your employees and customers can help you get through another flu season. Reasonable protective measures like those listed are both simple and will help you maintain a healthy work environment limit the impact illness has on your bottom line. With a few easy measures from employees and the assistance of a professional commercial cleaning service, you can stay healthy this flu season.