People are our most important assets. I cannot tell you how to run your business but I will suggest when people are sick they be encouraged to work from home or take a sick day. Germs and disease can trigger a crisis.
Many of us work in close quarters in our offices. There is great danger in spreading disease throughout the office if someone is contagious. Consider implementing awareness and ‘when not to come into the office’ policies to protect employees and your business.
Public transportation is another hot-spot where disease can easily spread. I often experience firsthand people on the train sneezing and coughing into the air. The germs then hang around and spread. By some estimates sneezes can travel 100 mph and up to 20 feet! It may be a bit extreme but I recently changed my seat on the way home three times during a 45-minute train commute due to rampant sneeze blasts. On a positive note, I rarely get sick. Uh oh, I hope I did not just jinx myself.
During pandemic planning we seem to tighten the reigns on this issue. When pandemic is no longer front page news it seems, we go back to our old ways.
Flu can easily be passed from person-to-person. Our primary concern is the health of our employees. Also, consider the business continuity aspects if a high percentage of people get sick because of the unnecessary spread of germs.
If people are sick and insist on coming to work, they should be considerate when sneezing and coughing. They should sneeze or cough into their arm. They should use care when touching objects that others may use, such as door knobs.
Tip – Keep safety masks in your office if someone wants to wear one.
Tip – Keep disinfectant dispensers at high traffic points throughout your office.
Six tips from the Center for Disease Control (CDC):
(Click here for additional CDC good practices to help prevent the spread of germs)
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
- If possible, stay home from work, school and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
- Clean your hands. Washing your hands often will help protect you from getting germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Practice other good health habits:
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
- Put your used tissue in a waste basket
- If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands
- Remember to wash your hands with soap and water after coughing or sneezing
- Keeping your hands clean through improved hand hygiene is important to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean running water
- If clean running water is not accessible, as is common in many parts of the world, use soap and available water. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to clean hands
Cough etiquette is especially important for infection control measures in healthcare settings, such as emergency departments, doctor’s offices, and clinics. More information on respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette in healthcare settings may be found on CDC’s seasonal flu pages.