It's that time of year again—when our bodies become more susceptible to the common cold, the flu and other highly contagious illnesses. Avoiding these can seem impossible, especially when we're surrounded by our sick colleagues all day. However, with that being said, there are effective steps we can all take to stay healthy all year long.
Share these 6 tips on staying healthy in the workplace during cold and flu season
Tip #1: Keep your distance
This can be especially challenging for those who work in an open office—yet carriers of the flu can spread their illness up to 6 feet away. The best thing your clients can do if they absolutely can't avoid exposure is to encourage their colleagues to be mindful of others and to disinfect common areas. This includes all areas, but especially in the kitchen, conference rooms and, of course, desks.
Tip #2: Be mindful of your diet
The best thing your clients can do during cold and flu season is to make healthy choices, including sticking to a well-balanced diet and staying hydrated. If your clients are too busy to pack a lunch for work every day, encourage them to make healthy choices if they are faced with options in the cafeteria or at a local restaurant. Superfoods—such as raw juices, fruits and vegetables, soup and yogurt—are some of the best power foods that strengthen the immune system during cold and flu season.
Tip #3: Wash your hands often
The refrigerator, doorknob and kitchen sink all have one thing in common: They are breeding grounds for the cold and flu viruses. So be sure not only to wash your hands before and after you see each client, but also to encourage them to do the same at the office.
Tip #4: Try not to share
More things to steer clear of are shared dish towels, silverware and cups. In order for your clients to stay healthy, encourage them to bring in their own utensils and wash everything thoroughly with soap and hot water.
Tip #5: If possible, work from home
No, not everyone has the ability to work from home. But if your client does, encourage him or her to do so if he or she is sick. The benefit of modern technology is that many professionals can take their work anywhere, but share the boundaries with your clients. If they are sick with a fever, the flu or any other impairing illnesses, encourage them to take a sick day altogether. Fighting off these illnesses can be impossible if your client doesn't take some time to rest and reboot the immune system.
Tip #6: Make health a priority
Just like a clean and healthy diet, regular, physical activity is essential for staying healthy all year long. If your clients catch a cold, but they are going stir-crazy, advise them to take it down a few notches. While they may still want to challenge themselves physically, it's important to rest in order to kick the common cold. If they absolutely can't take a day off and only have a mild cold, advise them to skip their evening run and opt for a brisk walk during lunch hour. If they live in colder climates, don't forget to advise your clients to dress warmly.
The truth is, a sick office environment is distracting. Whether it's your clients or their colleagues who is sick, be sure that they have these tips at the top of their mind. In the event they do get sick, take the proper precautions—like working from home and maintaining a healthy diet—so they can get back to the office.