The risk of spreading illnesses such as norovirus, influenza, and other highly contagious pathogens increases during the winter months, costing businesses an estimated $10.4 billion in sick days and lost productivity. To help reduce the spread of germs this cold and flu season, Cintas Corporation—provider of a wide range of products and services that enhance their customers’ image and help keep their facilities and employees clean, safe, and looking their best—offers tips for keeping the workplace healthy and maintaining building cleanliness.
“Whether it’s the flu or norovirus, an outbreak can be detrimental to a business’ productivity,” said Christiny Betsch, Marketing Manager, Cintas. “Implementing an effective and aggressive cleaning regimen that includes sanitizing hard surfaces and educating employees on handwashing best practices can help assist in preventing the spread of disease this flu season.”
To help businesses reduce the threat of an outbreak, Cintas recommends the following:
- Implement a Hand Hygiene Program: Encourage frequent handwashing among employees. According to the CDC, handwashing can reduce the number of respiratory illnesses by 16% to 21%. Post signage in high-traffic locations such as breakrooms to remind employees to wash their hands throughout the day in addition to providing easy access to water, soap, and alcohol-based sanitizers.
- Thoroughly Clean and Disinfect “Hot Spots”: High-touch surfaces that aren’t cleaned frequently can transfer pathogens to others. As one of the most touched surfaces in a facility, door handles should be wiped down and disinfected regularly, as well as doors to offices, restrooms, storage areas, refrigerators, and front and back entrances. Additional hot spots such as desks, elevators, light switches, and other high-touch surfaces should be wiped down and disinfected daily to reduce the spread of germs.
- Keep Supplies Well-Stocked: During flu season, facilities should keep stock of items such as hand hygiene products, toilet tissues, trash bags, disinfectants, and microfiber cleaning cloths, to encourage compliance with infection prevention strategies.
- Remind Sick Employees to Stay Home: Employees who come into work displaying symptoms of the flu can be highly contagious and can take anywhere from three to seven days for their symptoms to subside. Although many Americans would rather power through their illness than stay home, it’s crucial for leaders to stress the importance of health and well-being of everyone in the facility.