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The Workplace Germs Will Find You

Marissa Malone
Tue, Nov 17, 2015

winter_germs_in_the_workplace

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that healthier employees are more productive, but maintaining a clean bill of health is not easy when cold and flu season is on the rise.

Did you know 5% to 20% of Americans come down with the flu each year? This results in 111 million lost workdays and costs companies up to $7 billion in sick days and lost productivity. These statistics are staggering, but don’t be fooled, prepare yourself for the worst. Familiarize yourself with the germ 'hot spots' in your office and consider the following recommendations to promote workplace wellness.

Fact 1 - 80% of flu cases are spread by touching contaminated surfaces and by direct human contact.

  • Recommendation: The "Wash, Wipe, Sanitize" protocol can reduce the likelihood of cold and flu illness by 80% and reduce the number of surfaces contaminated by 62%. Stock up on an unlimited supply of disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer. Inform the employees where these cleaning supplies are located and encourage a weekly wipe down of all commonly used items. 

Fact 2 - 20% to 30% of influenza carriers have no symptoms.

  • Recommendation: Minimize the risk and get vaccinated before it’s too late. According to the CDC, flu vaccines are the best way to reduce your chances of getting the flu or sharing it with others.

Fact 3 - The average office desk is likely to house 400 times more germs than the average office toilet seat.

  • Recommendation: The CDC states hand washing is the most important step to take in order to avoid getting sick and sharing germs with others. Think twice before you touch. Don't overlook the handle on the microwave or the arm rests of the super cozy conference room chairs. Wash your hands and don't bring these germs back to your desk. 

Fact 4 - Your coffee cup is a breeding ground for bacteria.

  • Recommendation: One sneeze can spray up to 3,000 infectious droplets into the air and you don’t want that in your coffee. Consuming infectious droplets in your coffee is one of the quickest way for germs to enter our system. Thoroughly wash our your coffee cup on a daily basis, to reduce the transmission of viruses in close quarters.

Fact 5 – If you get sick, stay home!

  • Recommendation: Please stay home for 24 hours after your fever is gone. According to the CDC, you can infect others one day before your symptoms start to appear and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.

If employees and employers follow the mentioned recommendations, illness related absenteeism could be cut in half! Educate the office about where these winter germs are hiding and emphasize the importance of workplace wellness for all.

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