With cold and flu season well underway, many employers are keeping a wary eye out for the telltale sniffles and sneezing that precede an office-wide breakout of illnesses. While workplaces can take several steps to reduce the likelihood of spreading germs, germs linger in several sneaky places. Without addressing these areas, employees can begin to fall ill and not understand why. The following are some of the biggest sources of germs that hide in plain sight:
- Kitchen faucets. Everyone knows that office bathrooms are breeding grounds for disease as multiple people touch the door handles, faucet knobs, and towel dispensers. As a result, employees take more precautions in this high-traffic area. However, they rarely give the same attention to kitchen faucets. If the office has a breakroom or a kitchen area with a sink, it can be a breeding ground for germs.
- Cellphones. People use their phones more than ever and it’s become a Petri dish employees carry with them everywhere they go. Hands and mouths are the most common human sources of germs and both interact with phones on a regular basis. If employees pass around phones to share ideas or socialize during lunch, they could be spreading illness without realizing it.
- Gym equipment. Many workplaces offer access to onsite gyms or gym memberships to their employees as part of a wellness program. While exercise improves the immune system, gyms house a lot of germs that aren’t often correctly dealt with in a timely manner. While gym-goers should wipe down equipment before and after use as a standard of etiquette, a wet towel isn’t enough to disinfect it.
- Money. Employees go out for lunch or have meetings with clients over coffee all the time. During these interactions, they’re going to exchange cash, coins, or cards with the wait staff. Even if the restaurant requires employees to wash hands, there is no accounting for where money has been or whose hands it passed through.
Identifying the hidden sources of germs allows employees to take steps to prevent falling ill or spreading disease throughout the workplace. Frequent hand washing, keeping hand sanitizer close by, and avoiding touching the mouth, nose, or face can all help reduce an office-wide flu pandemic. If your workplace is struggling with illness and frequent absences, the experts at Actec can help. Contact us to learn about how our absence management system can reduce absenteeism and improve other elements of employee attendance.