Cold & Flu Prevention: 3 Must-Have Products for the Office
Having a sanitary workplace is vital to maintaining the health and safety of your employees. That’s why it’s important to control the spread of illness-causing bacteria and germs in your facility.
The seasonal flu and the common cold lead to increased sick days and can cost employers around $17 billion in lost productivity on average. Because of this, you may be interested in ways to reduce illness in your workplace.
Unfortunately, illness-causing germs are easily spread through airborne droplets and from surfaces where germs hide.
On a positive note, proper cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to minimize the risk of spreading sickness in your facility.
However, this regular cleaning and disinfection by your cleaning team may not be enough. You’ll likely need to enlist the help of your building occupants to keep your building as clean, healthy, and safe as possible.
To combat the spread of germs, your guests, employees, and others in your building should be encouraged to support your janitorial team in their efforts to reduce germ spread.
The best way to do this is by providing the people in your building with products that encourage frequent disinfection and promote good hygiene.
Giving your employees access to cleaning and disinfecting supplies as well as other products that are designed to prevent germ spread will lower the risk of illness in your facility.
In this article, we’ll review 3 products that every commercial office needs to offer to minimize the spread of illness.
Cold & Flu Prevention: 3 Must-Have Products for the Office
1. Disinfecting Wipes
Routine disinfection is a key part of every cleaning program. It ensures that bacteria and other germs are eliminated from the surfaces that your employees touch regularly.
The areas which are most prone to contamination are those that are most frequently touched or visited. These are commonly called high-touch surfaces.
High-touch surfaces in your office include:
- Elevator Buttons
- Computer Mouse
- Chair Arms
- Copier Machine Buttons
- Light Switches
- Soap Dispensers
- Tables in common spaces
- Light switches
- Door handles
- Bathroom Stalls
- Grab bars
- Water fountains
- Breakroom Tables
- Refrigerator Handles
- Towel Dispensers
Disinfecting wipes are an easy, safe, and ready-to-use way to combat the spread of germs from high-touch surfaces within your facility.
They’re most effective when not only given to your staff but supplied to building occupants.
Providing and promoting the use of disinfecting wipes encourage people to take their health into their own hands. It also helps lessen the burden on your cleaning team.
Making disinfecting wipes available to the people in your building will give them an easy way to make sure the surfaces they touch have been disinfected. Disinfecting wipes allow individuals to remove their own germs from surfaces around your facility before and after use in addition to routine cleaning by your janitorial team.
Benefits of Using Disinfecting Wipes to Prevent Cold And Flu In The Office
Reduced Chemical Exposure
Disinfecting wipes are a safe way to remove germs and bacteria from surfaces that are frequently touched.
Unlike sprays and diluted disinfectants, wipes don’t release chemicals into the air when applied. When wipes are removed from their container, the disinfectant is immediately wiped onto the surface being disinfected.
Wipes help your staff to control where your disinfectant chemical is applied. With the use of wipes, chemicals can be applied accurately without the worry of the chemicals spreading across a surface or into the air.
In addition to reduced chemical release into the air, disinfecting wipes also reduce the number of chemicals the people in your building are exposed to during use. For example, some disinfecting wipes do not require gloves or PPE to be worn during use.
Ease of Use
In addition to their safety benefits, disinfecting wipes are also disposable and can combine the process of cleaning and disinfecting into one step. Before a surface is disinfected, it should be cleaned of any visible soil - which requires a surface to first be cleaned.
To disinfect there is the one-step process or the two-step process. With the use of a cleaner/disinfectant wipe, surfaces can be cleaned and disinfected using the same product.
Instead of having to use two different chemicals to complete cleaning and disinfection, your staff can complete cleaning and disinfection in one step as long as there are no visible soils.
Germ spread is dramatically reduced by providing the people in your office with disinfection wipes.
Where Should I Place Disinfecting Wipes To Encourage Use In The Office?
Aside from stocking your janitorial cart with disinfecting wipes, they should also be provided to individuals and staged in certain areas of the building to encourage increased use.
Place Disinfecting Wipes at Individual Workstations
Disinfecting wipes should be placed on individual workstations for your staff to use on their desks and throughout their personal workspace.
By providing your staff with access to wipes at their desks, they are encouraged to wipe down their surfaces regularly.
This is particularly important in shared workspaces, like in facilities where workers are on a rotating schedule.
When the people in your building wipe down their own space, your janitorial team can focus on common and other high-risk areas.
Place Disinfecting Wipes in Common and Other High Traffic Areas
High-traffic areas pose a greater risk of germ transmission. While your janitorial team will clean these as often as possible, disinfecting wipes should also be placed in high-traffic areas to encourage occupants to wipe down the area before and after use.
When your employees are able to see disinfecting wipes in the areas they use most often, they’re more likely to use the disinfecting wipes before and after use.
Communication from management (emails, posters, signs) that describe when and how disinfectant wipes should be used can boost use throughout your facility.
For example, if you place disinfecting wipes in a meeting room where there is also a sign asking that the table be wiped after use, it is more likely that after a meeting your staff will wipe down the surfaces that they’ve touched.
We suggest that you place disinfecting wipes:
- In cafeterias
- In meeting rooms
- At desks
- On conference tables
- On breakroom counters
- And other areas of high traffic
2. Hand Sanitizer
Along with providing occupants with disinfecting wipes, your staff should have access to alcohol-based or Benzalkonium Chloride hand sanitizer (a non-alcohol-based sanitizer).
According to the CDC, hand sanitizers are effective at reducing the number of germs on the hand quickly in between handwashing and/or when handwashing is not possible. For example, if an employee washes their hands and then touches an elevator call button, they may not have the time to return to a handwashing sink. In this case, it would be most beneficial for your employees to use hand sanitizer.
Benefits Of Using Hand Sanitizer To Prevent Cold And Flu In The Office
Hand sanitizer serves as a convenient alternative to soap and water in situations where handwashing would be inconvenient or excessive.
Unlike hand washing, sanitizing can be done on the move and more frequently. This allows your staff to clean their hands after touching high-touch surfaces without having to travel to the nearest sink.
Reduced Germ Spread Through Touchless Dispensers
Since hand sanitizer can be distributed using touch-free dispensers, employees don’t have to worry about spreading germs through touching dispenser pumps.
Touchless hand sanitizer dispensers make it possible for your staff to receive the sanitizer they need without being exposed to germs that are already on the dispenser.
With the wave of a hand, they have access to the right amount of hand sanitizer and avoid picking up or depositing germs.
Where Should I Place Hand Sanitizer To Encourage Use In The Office?
The first step to using hand sanitizer is to make it available to the people in your building. Similar to disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer should be provided on the individual level and also placed in high traffic areas with easy accessibility.
Individual Hand Sanitizer
Individual hand sanitizer should be distributed on desks.
Individual hand sanitizer bottles can come with either a flip cap or a pump top. They can even come as wipes which are safe to kill germs on hands.
By providing your employees with access to individual hand sanitizer, they are able to clean their hands at their personal desks, without having to get up. The ease of access will encourage them to apply sanitizer when they approach their personal workspace before they touch anything.
Commercial Hand Sanitizer Dispensers
Hand sanitizer dispensers should be placed throughout your office space for maximum effectiveness and increased use.
Accessible skincare dispensers can reinforce your facility’s hand hygiene program by encouraging the people in your building to sanitize their hands more frequently.
The more conveniently placed your hand sanitizer dispensers, the more likely people are to use them. For example, a dispenser placed at the entrance of a common area, like a break room, can encourage your employees to sanitize their hands before eating.
Hand sanitizer dispensers should be placed:
- Outside of meeting rooms
- By elevators
- At the entrance to cafeteria spaces
- Inside Entryways
- Near any high-touch surfaces
- By facial tissue stands
- Near garbage cans
3. Facial Tissues
During cold and flu season when coughing and sneezing are at their peak, it is especially important to provide your employees with access to facial tissues.
Covering coughs and sneezes is helpful in preventing the spread of illnesses.
Using facial tissues to cover sneezes and coughs can minimize how far droplets spread in your facility. Without facial tissue, people may openly sneeze or cough - increasing germ spread.
Benefits Of Using Facial Tissue To Prevent Cold And Flu In The Office
Providing the people in your facility with facial tissues encourages them to sneeze and cough into the tissues instead of into the air.
By covering their cough or sneeze with a tissue, the number of droplets that are expelled into the air is reduced drastically. And since they are disposable, your staff can use a tissue to catch droplets and then promptly dispose of them in the trash.
Where Should I Place Facial Tissues To Combat Cold and Flu In The Office?
Place Facial Tissues at Individual Workstations
Facial tissues can be placed on individual desks and workstations so that your employees have direct access to them.
Place Facial Tissues in Common and Other High Traffic Areas
You can also place tissues in central areas, like in hallways or break areas, and near hand sanitizer dispensers.
Placing tissues in central areas will make them more readily available for use. Your staff won’t need to go far if they need a tissue.
Having hand sanitizer nearby will be helpful in encouraging your employees to sanitize their hands after disposing of used tissue.
Minimizing the spread of the common cold and the flu throughout your facility is important to protecting the health and safety of your employees.
Adding some or all of these cold and flu prevention essentials to your facility will help reduce sickness in your facility.
Providing your staff with access to disinfecting wipes allows them to disinfect surfaces that are commonly used in between cleaning procedures. Your employees are given the ability to take their safety into their own hands and ensure that they are working in sanitary spaces.
In addition to individual surface disinfection, hand sanitizer stations should be placed throughout your facility to encourage your staff to sanitize their hands more frequently.
Facial tissue should also be placed in your facility to encourage your employees to contain their sneezes and coughs. This will help minimize the presence of germ spread.
It’s important to make these products widely available to everyone in your facility. Strategic placement will encourage your building’s occupants to use these products to maintain their health and wellness.
EBP and other Imperial Dade locations have a wide range of products to help you prevent the spread of illnesses like the common cold and the flu throughout your facility.
If you’re located in the United States, Puerto Rico, or the Caribbean, you can contact one of our Specialists to determine how to best combat an outbreak of the cold and flu in your facility.
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