Could Your Workplace Policies Be Spreading the Flu?

A flu outbreak in your workplace will make your staff miserable and could drastically reduce production. Avoiding the flu at work takes cooperation between employers and staff, especially when it comes to creating — and enforcing — workplace policies that encourage flu prevention.

If you’re thinking, “there’s no way one of our policies is helping to spread the flu,” we suggest you check our list below. You may be surprised, but how you hold company meetings and where people eat their lunch, could be making your workforce sick.

Policy 1: Sick Leave Policies
Consider offering sick leave, even if you don’t have a normal paid time off structure. Small businesses that can’t afford sick pay can still offer make-up time so sick employees don’t feel like a day in bed with the flu will automatically mean a smaller paycheck.

 Policy 2: Efficiency at the Cost of Health
As companies struggle to create efficient, cost-effective workforces, some innovative labour ideas may put employees at greater risk. Desk-sharing policies, common work areas and strategic equipment rooms create cubicle-sized petri dishes of cross-contamination. If your workforce shares space in any of these ways, cut back on the spread of flu by providing antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer to help your employees keep germs at bay. Assign personnel to wipe down shared furniture and equipment like copy machines and breakroom tables several times a day. Require shift employees who share cubicle spaces to wipe down desks, computer mice, keyboards and phones at the beginning and end of their shifts.

Policy 3: Face-to-Face Isn’t Always Better
Gathering the team in one room is an effective way to communicate and many leaders’ preferred method for brainstorming and collaboration. But during flu season, together isn’t always better. Huddling around a single conference table, grabbing a bite to eat together, and shaking hands with others are activities that risk the spread of flu. Consider limiting physical meetings and opting for Web meetings or teleconferences during the height of flu season, especially if the bug is hitting your workforce hard. Even if you have a no-work-from-home policy, consider relaxing requirements for special circumstances; if an essential staff member needs to be out sick but is willing to call in to provide information during a meeting, be appreciative of such dedication and allow the call.

Policy 4: Munch & Work Policies
Many companies allow employees to eat at their desks, especially during high-volume seasons. Crumbs and leftover food create a breeding ground for germs, and the hand-to-face movement required for eating also encourages the spread of flu. If you can’t nix the eat-at-your-desk allowance because it will derail productivity or employee morale, make sure you educate employees about the importance of a clean work area and frequent hand-washing.

Make sure to help your workers know when it’s best to stay at home and get better and create an environment and workplace policies that allow them to. Being open to your teams and coworkers about how important it is to you to eliminate the flu at work can make all the difference.

Advertisements

A Guide to Surviving the Office Holiday Party

Holiday party season is upon us! While this can be a fun and enjoyable time to interact with your colleagues in a casual and festive atmosphere, it’s also important to keep a sense of professionalism in your celebrations. After all, everyone wants to make it through the holidays safe and sound.

Our guide to surviving the holiday office party contains some simple do’s and don’ts of enjoying the celebrations. Whether you’re at an in-office gathering or an off-site company party, these are a few things to keep in mind.

Do:

  • Attend the party and have a little fun – this can be a great team building opportunity.
  • If you’re hosting the gathering, ensure you arrange for plenty of food for everyone (especially when serving alcohol).
  • Make sure the menu outlines any items that contain common allergens, like nuts, and where possible provide vegetarian or free-from menu alternatives (like gluten-free, dairy-free, etc).
  • Choose healthy snack options. Nutrition plays a big part in keeping you healthy and will help get you through the holidays feeling more energized.
  • Keep well hydrated throughout the day and get plenty of sleep at night – both efforts will help to keep you alert and prepared through the holidays.
  • Keep a first-aid kit close by, especially at events where activities will take place.
  • Remind guests to take a safe mode of transportation home. Encourage guests to have a designated driver, provide signage with taxi phone numbers and display directions for alternative modes of transportation like public transit.

Don’t:

  • Don’t drink and drive.
  • Don’t RSVP that you’ll attend and then not show up. If you can’t make it, let the host know as soon as possible so they can arrange to let the caterer know.
  • Don’t pack your holiday schedule so full that you exhaust yourself. Consider all your commitments and turn down invites if you need to take a break.
  • Don’t use this as an opportunity to talk about personal issues or gossip about your colleagues. And don’t talk about work too much. Find the right balance so that everyone can enjoy the conversation.

These are just a few tips on how to make the most of holiday celebrations at work. Do you have any other pieces of advice? Share below in the comments section.

 

4 Tips for Standing Desk Success

So you’ve heard all about standing desks and how they can be a great benefit to your health. You would like to make the transition, but what if it feels weird? All your coworkers are sitting and you’re standing. Before you make the investment and jump in with two feet, we have four tips to make your transition to a standing desk a true success.

Do your homework.
Moving to a standing workstation may require a bit more planning than if you were ordering another standard height desk. You will want to think about getting some of the necessary accessories that will help support your new standing situation, such as a height adjustable monitor, a supportive stool, and maybe a padded mat to stand on. You’ll also want to think about your choice of footwear.

Value flexibility.
This goes for both the products you’re considering as well as your habits. Standing desks and other design pieces that help you get up and move often have the ability to function as a “traditional” desk and transition from one mode to the other. There are even apps to help. Phone apps like “Stand Up” and others can help remind you to take a break from sitting and to switch to the standing function of your desk. And flexibility goes beyond your desk— not all tasks and situations work best when standing. Find the right balance and you’ll get the most use out of your standing desk.

Don’t be afraid to be a trendsetter.
This one’s a tough one, and a New York Times article says “you will literally stand out. Embrace it.” Standing desks, treadmill desks, and other pieces are becoming more and more common in the workplace, but it might be a while before they’re the majority. In the meantime, consider how your originality might lend itself to other healthy office trends—start a walking group, encourage your team to take meetings on the move, and make your standing desk just one part of an overall approach to a healthier workplace.

Consider the culture.
Consider the culture of your office and determine how a standing desk fits within that culture, and where you can take advantage of company culture to promote workplace wellness, flexible workspaces, and creating ways to avoid the brain lag that can come from being cemented in one place for too long.

Are you looking for ideas on how to break out of the mold of the traditional office? Browse a selection of height-adjustable desks and accessories on eway.ca.

Is Your Breakroom Crawling With Germs?

So you’re ready to fight the good fight against office germs: your desk is clean, your hands are washed, and the office bathroom is sparkling clean. You can rest assured knowing that you’ve done all you can to combat the cold or flu germs that are floating around the office. Right? Well…not just yet. While all those things help fight office germs, there’s one hot spot that often gets overlooked: the breakroom.

A recent study carried out by Kimberly Clark Professional* found that breakrooms are one of the germiest areas in the workplace.

The study results proved that some of the highest level of germs were found hanging around the breakroom, including the sink faucet handles, the microwave door, the refrigerator door handles, and the vending machine buttons.

Click on the image below to view in full.

Kimberly-Clark-Professional-Office-Germ-Hot-Spots

So how can you limit the number of germs floating around your office breakroom? Simple tips like keeping it a high priority for cleaning staff, supplying the right antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers, and ask employees to wipe down hot spot zones with cleaning wipes after use.

Stock up on the right solutions for your Breakroom on eway.ca.

blog4