5 Helpful tips on how to avoid spreading illness in the workplace during flu season

It is important to maintain a hygienic work environment at all times, but even more so when flu season approaches.

It is not always possible to avoid sick co-workers; however, there are some good hygiene practices that can help to reduce the spread of germs and illness in the workplace.

  1. Hand washing and sanitising

Hand washing and sanitising is still the best way to reduce the spread of germs. Old-fashioned hand washing is your first defense against getting sick and can drastically help in reducing the spread of illness in the workplace.

However in certain circumstances where access to soap and water may be limited or unavailable, opt to use an alcohol-based santiser which is perfect for use all year round, especially during the winter months when we are all more susceptible to colds and flu. Hand sanitisers can be efficient at eliminating 99.9% of germs.

A great hygiene tactic in the workplace is to strategically place hand sanitisers around the office in high-traffic areas such as:

  • boardrooms
  • break rooms
  • desks


  1. Cover your mouth and nose

It may seem obvious to some, however many people forget to cover their mouth and nose when they cough or sneeze.

Rather than covering your face with your hand, it is far better to cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow.

It may sound strange, but this CDC recommended technique is replacing the traditional cover-your-mouth-with-your-hands-or-a-tissue approach that has long been considered the most sanitary and polite way to deal with coughs and sneezes.


  1. Keep your distance from sick co-workers

Did you know that the flu virus can travel up to 1.82 metres away and is spread when droplets from the nose and mouth of the infected person are inhaled by someone nearby?

Therefore it is advisable to keep your distance as much as possible from sick co-workers and always practice good hygiene e.g. hand washing or sanitising if you do come into contact with a sick co-worker.

  1. Disinfect surfaces

Always disinfect your immediate work area. Keep disinfectant wet-wipes in your workplace desk drawer and make sure to wipe down surfaces which may become contaminated.

These surfaces include all high-touch areas in the workplace, such as:

  • Desks
  • Door handles
  • Printers
  • Light switches
  • Computer equipment
  • Water cooler handle/button
  • Coffee machine
  1. Yes, it is ok to stay at home

According to an article by the Harvard Business Review, researchers say that “presenteeism”—the problem of workers’ being on the job but, because of illness, not fully functioning—can cut individual productivity by one-third or more.

If you are sick, you should stay at home, rather than risk infecting your co-workers. This will go a long way in preventing the spread of illness in the workplace.


Stay healthy and flu-free this winter

Practicing good hygiene habits in the workplace, like the simple practical tips in this article, is the first step to avoiding flu this winter. Remember, prevention is always better than cure.

Why not take a look at our range of professional hygiene services?

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