With flu season in full swing, office cubicles can easily morph into little incubators of sickness and germs. With so many employees sharing one space, living, breathing, coughing, and sneezing around each other, your office can be even worse than a daycare in terms of becoming trecherous territory for the health-concious. Below are some tips outlined by Kristina Duda, RN on banishing the germs and keeping a clean slate of health so you can maintain productivity in the workplace this flu season!
1. Wash Your Hands. Often.
This means every time you use the restroom, before you eat, after you sneeze or cough and any other time your hands feel dirty. Also, keep a bottle of hand sanitizer at your desk, for when you can’t get to a sink.
2. Keep your workspace clean.
Clean your phone, computer keyboard and anything else that you use frequently. Even if you are the only user, germs can live on these objects and you can reinfect yourself.
3. Eat balanced meals every day – including breakfast!
Many people are tempted to skip breakfast because it takes too long to eat in the morning or in an (misguided) effort to lose weight. It has been proven that people who eat breakfast are healthier and more likely to remain at a healthy weight.
4. Avoid coworkers who are sick.
You would hope that coworkers who are contagious would stay home from work. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case. If they do show up, try to avoid direct contact with them (without being rude, of course).
5. Drink AT LEAST 8 glasses of water a day.
Sodas and coffee may help you stay awake, but they will also contribute to dehydration. So you need to be sure to drink water also. Just keep a water bottle with you all the time, drink throughout the day and you will probably get what you need.
6. Take frequent breaks throughout the day.
When you are feeling tired or sore, get up and walk around for a few minutes. Or try some of these tips forstretching at your desk. Taking breaks and keeping your body in shape will help you feel better and make you more productive.
7. Use your vacation days.
It may feel like there is never a good time to be away from the office, but people who do not take vacations are more likely to be sick. Vacations are a good way to relieve stress, which has been proven to contribute to illness. So even if it is just a few long weekends, use your vacation days and don’t take your work with you.
8. Quit smoking.
It is pretty common knowledge these days that smoking is bad for your health. Smokers get sick much more frequently than non-smokers. You are also getting less work done if you have to take frequent smoke breaks throughout the day. And no, smoke breaks do not promote productivity like exercise breaks do. Nicotine is a stimulant and actually increases your body’s stress level.