Cold and flu season is here, and with it comes absenteeism and presenteeism that can negatively impact your company’s bottom line. However, facility managers aren’t powerless against seasonal illnesses. There are many strategies you can adopt to encourage healthy employees during cold and flu season. Most experts recommend regular cleaning and handwashing to help fight the spread of flu and cold viruses. Therefore, small investments in more frequent Houston janitorial services, reminding everyone of proper office hygiene, and creating a strategic plan for reducing cold and flu transmission can go a long way in protecting your workforce this year.
This Cold and Flu Season May Be Bad This Year
Of course, keeping your employees healthy should be a priority all year long. Why give it more focus now that flu season is here? Well, some believe that the cold and flu season may be particularly bad this year, according to an article from Yale Medicine. Also, with more strains of COVID-19 cropping up and causing severe illness, some believe cold and flu viruses may come back with a vengeance while immune systems may be low.
Last year was a relatively mild cold and flu season. Many attribute this to people staying inside and away from others due to precautions and mandates for the pandemic. However, this also means most of us weren’t exposed last year, which may mean that we lack antibodies for this year’s flu strains. In short, though it’s hard to predict, many people may be more vulnerable to getting sick from cold and flu viruses this year. That’s why it may be time to step up your game and consider more frequent Houston janitorial services and other cold and flu prevention strategies.
Some Strategies for Reducing Cold and Flu Transmission in Your Office
According to the CDC, there are several things people can do to help prevent flu transmission at work. These include encouraging employees to get a flu vaccine and asking people to stay home when they are sick. In addition, it’s important for employers to provide necessary supplies and information for preventative actions. For example, providing tissues for workers to cough or sneeze into to follow proper cough and sneeze etiquette, or providing hand sanitizer to help people rid their hands of germs when washing their hands is impractical. Also, consider placing disinfectant wipes or other cleaning supplies around the office for easy access in case your employees want to do a little extra to protect themselves from germs.
Another important part of any workplace cold and flu prevention program is regular Houston commercial cleaning services. Regular cleaning and disinfecting can limit the number of germs that can make your employees sick.
Houston Janitorial Services During Flu Season
You may have noticed that many facilities increase scheduled Houston janitorial services during cold and flu season. There’s a reason for this! You see, cold and flu germs typically spread through respiratory droplets when someone who is sick sneezes, coughs, or even just speaks. Those germs go into the air, but they also can land on surfaces. Germs on surfaces can get picked up and spread throughout your facility, making many people sick. However, what many people don’t realize is that the viruses that cause colds and the flu are actually quite delicate. They are fairly easy to remove and kill with regular cleaning and disinfecting. So, if you want to do your part to limit the spread of colds and flu in your office, consider these business cleaning strategies.
Regular Houston Commercial Cleaning Services
Many of the germs that can make your employees sick are easily removed with regular Houston commercial cleaning services. Remember that cleaning is different from disinfecting. Cleaning helps remove dirt, debris, and germs from surfaces. Disinfecting kills germs on a surface. Most experts recommend cleaning a visibly dirty surface immediately to help reduce the risk of germs. For most businesses, daily cleaning is sufficient for cold and flu season. However, high traffic areas or buildings may need more frequent cleaning services to help remove germs.
Also, it’s important to understand that not just anyone should be in charge of your commercial cleaning program. This is particularly true when there’s a risk of illnesses spreading through your office. Cross contamination is a serious concern, as it can take germs from one surface and actually transfer them to other surfaces. This can spread germs around and make it easier for those germs to infect more of your employees. It’s important to choose an experienced crew for Houston janitorial services that uses processes that limit cross contamination. For instance, changing out mop water frequently and using different rags for different surfaces can help reduce cross contamination in your office.
Frequent Disinfection for High Touch Surfaces
In addition, you might need more frequent disinfection services during cold and flu season. Now, a lot of offices are already disinfecting frequently due to COVID. However, if you haven’t, it might be time to start. Regular disinfecting of high touch surfaces can go a long way in preventing cold and flu transmission, as well as other germs that can make people sick. Some areas to target include:
- Light switches
- Door handles
- Sink faucets
- Coffee machines
- Fridge handles
- Computer mice
However, keep in mind that not every cleaning crew is up to the task of proper disinfection. It’s important to choose EPA approved disinfectants, mix them according to the label, and also apply them properly. Otherwise, disinfection services may not be as effective at killing germs.
Extra Houston Janitorial Services When Someone is Sick
So, what if someone comes into work sick? Or, what if they start getting symptoms during the work day? After sending them home to get better, you might need extra Houston janitorial services for your office. The flu virus can live on surfaces for up to 24 hours and rhinovirus (the most common cause of colds) can live for about three hours. If you’re able, it may make sense to call your cleaning crew for extra cleaning and disinfecting. This can help reduce the number of germs in your office after someone gets sick.
Houston Janitorial Services Keep Soap Stocked for Proper Handwashing
Also, let’s not forget that most janitorial crews also help keep your restrooms stocked. Since handwashing is so important during cold and flu season, you also want to make sure your cleaning staff is stocking restrooms frequently enough to allow people to wash their hands properly. Obviously running out of soap or hand towels is never a good thing. However, no soap during flu season can put people at even greater risk. Handwashing with soap and water frequently is one of the recommended ways for preventing colds and the flu. With more and more reminders about proper hand hygiene and, hopefully, more people washing their hands more often, your restrooms may need more frequent re-stocking.
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