How To Control the Spread of Germs in the Workplace

In a business setting, the company counts on everyone to be productive and efficient. Your business will start bleeding money if people don’t perform well. As a manager or business owner, you need to make sure people are productive, so output is at an optimal level. Sadly, illnesses take a big hit on productivity. If one of your employees is sick, he needs to absent himself from work. His tasks might be distributed to his colleagues, or if the job is specialized, work begins to pile up.

Worse, if one employee gets sick, there is also a high likelihood that many others will follow suit. A cold can travel fast among people, especially those in close proximity. One sneeze, and people in neighboring cubicles might catch the cold, flu or other viruses.

The key here is controlling the spread of germs in the workplace. Germs are inevitable—your employees have lives and families of their own, after all. But what’s important is to isolate these, and encourage people to practice good hygiene.

Encourage everyone to wash their hands. This should be standard procedure. Employees pass around memos, notes and office supplies. They touch the water cooler. They touch the coffee maker. They touch the copy machine. Hand contact is therefore inevitable. A lot of germs can be spread through the hand, so instruct your employees to wash their hands frequently, and whenever they come into contact with other people.

You can install hand sanitizer dispensers in common areas. Washing is still best, but hand sanitizers are a good alternative, especially if one is on the move.

Isolate sick employees. Most offices nowadays use cubicles instead of office rooms. If your employees are lucky enough to have their own rooms, then everyone should be fine if one is sick. Otherwise, you might have to ask those who are having the sniffles to move temporarily to a secluded spot. An unused conference room will do. You can also ask him to wear a face mask, so he won’t spread viruses and bacteria when he coughs or sneezes. This way, you minimize the spread of germs.

Telecommute. You can also convince a sick employee to stay home while he is ill. If he can still do some work, then offer to allow him to work from home. Let him bring home a company laptop. Coordinate with him through his home phone. Skype also works well. You can video-conference with your employees even if they are remote.

If he isn’t well enough to work, then he should probably just be sleeping off his virus at home. Regular employees have sick leaves, anyway, and they are still paid in full, as long as there is valid reason. Ask your sick staffers to take a day or two off. If they don’t have sick leave, then offer to have him stay home on company time. It’s better to pay one person for a day’s loss than have five other employees absent themselves in the succeeding weeks.

Keep the premises clean. Prevention is the best cure against any sickness. Therefore, you should keep the office premises clean. Ask the maintenance personnel to disinfect the place every night, especially those equipment and materials that often come into contact with your workforce, such as the keyboards, mice, and table tops.

Everyone gets sick once in a while. But a company cannot afford to lose money when its employees have down time. Be smart about keeping yourself and your surroundings clean. If everyone does this, then the spread of germs can be minimized if not prevented altogether.


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