Five Simple Steps to a Healthy Staff and Bottom Line
Maintaining the cleanliness of your business and the good health of employees can be a daunting undertaking. With recent reports citing that 75 million workdays are expected to be missed this coming flu season and that absenteeism is costing businesses roughly $660 per employee per year, it is critical to a business’ success to keep employees healthy.
To minimize the affect absenteeism can have to a company's bottom line, businesses need only to implement a few simple steps. Dr. Allison Aiello, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and a member of the Tork® Green Hygiene Council™ offers a few infection control tips for the workplace.
From the front door to the keyboard, disinfect.It’s surprising to see how many germs are living on the surface of a desk. Experiments with some types of cold and flu viruses have shown potential survival times ranging from a few minutes to 48 hours or more. Another shocking fact – many individuals do not properly wash their hands after using the bathroom. For adequate infection control and to prevent workplace illness from spreading, provide employees with an effective and convenient means of disinfecting their workspace. Frequently sanitize everything that is touched regularly like telephones, light switches, doorknobs, chairs, filing cabinets, keyboards and break areas.
Encourage effective handwashing.Viruses spread easily so minimizing the amount of germs on hands is a surefire way to increase the health of any workplace. Effective handwashing should take as long as singing “Happy Birthday” twice and include warm water and soap. Drying hands with a single-use paper towel helps reduce germs even further and lessens the chance of cross-contamination. Use the paper towel to avoid contact with frequently touched surfaces when leaving the washroom, such as the faucet and door handles. Place a wastebasket by the door so employees may discard the paper towel in a hygienic manner.
Recommend and provide flu shots at the office.According to the CDC, the flu shot is a person’s best protection from the flu and can lessen the severity of symptoms if a person develops an influenza infection. The best time to get a flu shot is October through December, when flu-like symptoms have the strongest likelihood to harvest.
Offer sick leave.The last thing any business needs is to have a sick employee come into the office and spread their illness to everyone else and their families, causing absenteeism. Suggest employees stay home when they are sick and support that policy. Studies have found that employees who feel like they will not face discipline for taking time off when they are sick are more willing to use it sparingly and appropriately.
Encourage exercise.A great way to prevent illness from spreading in the workplace and causing absenteesim, is to encourage your employees to stay physically fit. When people exercise and take care of their bodies, they may also enhance their immune system, reducing susceptibility to illness. Start a group walking program during lunch to encourage employees to be active or offer discounts on health club memberships. Exercise and a good diet will also improve the stamina and energy of your employees when they are at the office.
Tork Green Hygiene Council
To enhance global awareness of proper sustainability and hygiene practices to make the world a greener, safer and cleaner place to live and work.
Tork is a brand of SCA, Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget. SCA offers personal care products, tissue, packaging, publication papers and solid-wood products in more than 90 countries. For more information, visit www.sca.com
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