5 ways to prevent office flu

February 13th, 2013 Category: Office Cleaning

Absenteeism is costing  British business approximately £32 billion a year, but most managers may be surprised to learn that there is a lot they can do to mitigate the impact of sick days on their business.

A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study has revealed that UK workers take more sick days than anywhere else in the world, with the average worker taking ten unscheduled days off from their jobs a year, compared to 9.7 for European workers, 5.5 in the US and 4.5 in Asia Pacific.

Richard Phelps, HR consulting partner at PwC, said: "Keeping staff engaged is arguably the biggest part of the battle, but you also need clear policies in place to make it less appealing for people to take unwarranted leave, while protecting those people with genuine illness."

In order to cope with the latter, we have compiled five ways to mitigate the threat of office flu:

1)     Regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces is essential to stop the spread of germs. A paper published in the Journal of Medical Virology found that pathogens, including the flu virus, can linger in surfaces such as keyboards, door handles, desks and telephones for up to 18 hours, which is why effective and frequent cleaning is paramount.

2)     Toilet facilities can be harbourers of bacteria and viruses if they are not regularly cleaned. Using industrial grade products and high-pressure cleaners is necessary to reduce the build-up of pathogens in every corner of these facilities in the workplace.

3)     Carpets and mats provide the ideal breading ground for pathogens, especially over the winter, and with people constantly moving in and out of the office fresh bacteria is continually being deposited on the office floor. Frequent professional cleaning of all carpets and rugs in the office, especially in high-traffic areas, is strongly recommended to maintain a hygienic workplace.

4)     Even hard surface flooring gets the same exposure to pathogens as soft surfaces, with viruses and bacteria locking into cracks and surface roughness. Cleaning with a steam mop that is repeatedly changed will ensure the germs are removed completely from the floor.

5)     Finally, promoting a proactive stance from your workforce will ultimately lead to more awareness over the spread of germs. Actively encourage staff to wash their hands thoroughly, which can be done by providing alcohol-based hand sanitiser and antimicrobial hand washing solution for employees to use.