How to minimise the spread of flu in the workplace

Winter is the start of the flu season.  This year, winter is going to be more challenging because of the global coronavirus pandemic.  Preventing the spread of viruses in the workplace has become one of the most important things employers have to do.

A flu outbreak in the office is costly and disruptive.  Employees who are sick are not productive.  If they are away from work, employers may be forced to hire replacement staff which can be costly.  The pandemic has also made people wary and anxious which in turn can affect their productivity.  The best way to ensure productivity in the workplace is to provide a clean and safe environment for staff to return to work.

Consider your office, shop or factory as a source for infection and you will get the picture.  Whether your business is a B2C, B2C or virtual, the workplace is a common space where many different people interact.  On any normal working day, the place will have different people moving in and out – customers, employees, deliverers, suppliers, tradespeople and others.  Hundreds of handprints on desks, chairs, walls, equipment, door handles and many more.  The risk of human to human infection is significant.

Forget about an infectious disease or virus, the common flu is a productivity killer at the workplace.  More staff taking time off for sick leaves means less work done and more cost in staff replacements and medical insurance premiums.

Fortunately, there are simple measures every employer can take to minimise the risk of infection in the workplace.

Get regular professional commercial cleaning

Hire a commercial cleaning company in Sydney to clean and maintain the workplace.   Commercial cleaning is professional-grade cleaning that can keep the workplace clean and safe.

Daily cleaning tasks like vacuuming, cleaning toilets and kitchens, dusting and wiping down surfaces may look basic but they are essential to remove dust, dirt and harmful bacteria.  The more thorough the cleaning, the less the risk of cross-contamination.

Commercial cleaning companies have the equipment and products to do a deep cleaning of your business and keep it clean and infection-free.  For example, a commercial cleaning company takes care of the carpet steam cleaning and carpet dry cleaning.

Carpet cleaning is an important procedure to remove dust and dirt trapped inside carpets.  These debris find their way into the office through the soles of shoes.  If left untreated they become ingrained into the carpet fibres resulting in wear and tear of carpets and potential injury risks when people trip on them.

Furthermore, carpet cleaning removes harmful bacteria and germs that live inside carpet fibres.  High-heat treatment via carpet steam cleaning is the only effective way to eradicate these harmful allergens.

Minimise cross infections by disinfecting

If you wish to further improve your infection risk controls you can discuss with your commercial cleaning company about providing a disinfecting programme. This will include a focus on disinfecting touch points such as door handles, kitchen cupboards and desks, office supplies and shared furniture.  Wiping and disinfecting is one the best ways to minimise human to human infection through shared furniture, walls and doors.

Routine disinfecting is really an effective way to prevent the flu, as good disinfecting kills 90% of germs, including the flu and similar virus.

Provide hand sanitisers

Provide sufficient hand sanitisers in high risks areas like the reception desk, staff and public toilets, and kitchens.

Some companies have hand sanitiser dispensers prominently installed near doors for staff and visitors to use.

Speak to your commercial cleaner to have the sanitisers checked and refilled.

Minimise cross-infection sources

One effective way to prevent a spread of infections in the workplace is to minimise the use of any sources that promote cross-infections.

These sources can be a simple item like a dirty dish cloth or shared coffee mugs.  Instead use, recyclable paper cups and provide paper towels for staff.

Minimise human to human infection

Provide some basic education on how to minimise human to human infection.   If your staff knows what they have to do to prevent others from getting sick then they, too, can play a role in helping keep the workplace germfree.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Stay away from the workplace if they are unwell. See a doctor for medication so they can recover quickly.
  • Wash their hands with soap and dry them properly.
  • Throw any tissue or towels they use directly into bins.
  • Avoid touching others with their hands e.g. shaking hands
  • Avoid breathing onto others.
  • If they have to cough or sneeze, cover their nose and mouth.
  • Avoid sharing food with others.
  • Avoid using other employees’ equipment, telephone, and computers.
  • Eat properly. Drink lots of water to aid their recovery.

Simple hygiene practices can go a long way in minimising human to human infection when there is an outbreak of flu in the workplace.

Some commercial cleaners have professionally designed and printed signs that you can ask for.  Get a few of signs on how to wash and disinfect your hands properly and have them placed in toilets and kitchens so staff can easily read what they have to do.

A virus infection is serious.  Many people can get sick at the same time.  New strains of the flu are emerging all the time and if a similar virus like the coronavirus struck, the health authorities will want to implement quarantine controls to prevent its spread.   Imagine if that happened to your business?   Your staff cannot come to work.  Your business cannot operate.  The consequences to your business can be significant.

The most effective way to prevent the spread of viruses in your workplace is to have it as clean and hygienic as possible.  That way you can minimise the risk of infection.

Keeping your customers and staff safe is a simple, affordable step every employer should consider.  The long term benefits far outweigh the short term modest investment.

When was the last time you had the office carpet steam cleaned?  Is there a disinfecting programme in your workplace?  Is your workplace a clean and healthy work environment?

Call DryTech Commercial cleaning today for a professional office cleaning and disinfecting programme in Sydney.