HR & Management

How to prevent office sickness – seven steps to kicking flu to the curb this winter

4 min read

23 November 2016

Sharing an office with employees and co-workers can be a disaster when it comes to spreading sickness, especially as the winter rolls around and windows are kept firmly shut. So it pays to know how to prevent office sickness.

There are some tried-and-tested methods you can take to prevent office sickness.

(1) Always wash your hands

The best way to prevent office sickness and stop spreading infections to everything you touch is by washing your hands thoroughly throughout the day. Keep a bottle of hand sanitiser on your desk so you can do this without having to constantly pop to the bathroom.

Also ensure you are cleaning your hands properly after using the toilet, blowing your nose or preparing food.

(2) Keep everything clean – it seems to be the secret recipe to prevent office sickness

As well as keeping your hands clean, it’s important to clean your desk frequently. This includes your keyboard, which some studies have found carry levels of bacteria five times more than those found in a toilet. With this in mind, it’s gross to think so few of us actually clean our keyboards.

Desk spaces should be cleaned thoroughly at least once a week. It’s also important not to leave any washing up on your desk or in the sink; make sure you are keeping on top of your dishes and washing them with soap and hot water straight after you have eaten.

Encourage the whole office to keep themselves and their working spaces clean to help avoid those sick days!

(3) Stay hydrated throughout the day

Drinking water and keeping yourself hydrated is a great way to keep your body in full working order which will hopefully help it destroy any incoming nasty viruses and infections. Fizzy drinks and coffee will not do the job like water does as these liquids tend to dehydrate.

(4) Try not to touch your face

Hands are the main way in which illnesses are transferred from person to person in the office so try to avoid touching your face throughout your work day. Some studies have actually found that workers touch their face once every four minutes!*

If you can avoid touching your face during the day, the chances of you getting sick will be greatly diminished.

(5) Avoid those who are infected

It can be difficult to avoid those who have come into work even though they are sick but if you want to spared and don’t fancy being bedridden for a few days, it’s important to try and steer clear of those displaying any symptoms.

If you notice that someone next to you is coughing a lot, with red eyes and tissues surrounding them, tell them to go home.

(6) Take plenty of vitamins

Taking vitamin C supplements is a great way to keep illnesses at bay if you do not get enough fruits or vegetables in your diet. Ensure you aren’t upping your dose too much as this can actually prove very unsafe for adults and can do more harm than good.

If you know you won’t be eating anything nutritional while at your desk, have a bottle of vitamins to hand so you can keep your body fighting fit.

(7) If you are sick, don’t come in

The best way to ensure that sickness won’t spread throughout your office is to make sure you don’t go in when you’re sick. This isn’t an excuse to have more sick days; only do this if you are genuinely ill and you think you might be contagious. It may even be a good idea to book a few days off when you are ill to give yourself a break and let your body recuperate properly.

Clare Morrison is GP at MedExpress.

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