A friend recently shared her office situation reminds her of the Agatha Christie’s novel And Then There Were None.
In the case you are not an Agatha Christie fan, the mystery is about 10 people who are invited to an isolated island and one-by-one are murdered, until no one but the killer is left. (This is one of her best novels by the way and if you haven’t read it, be prepared to be spellbound.)
The nasty, yucky whatever bug it is this time that is going around making everyone feel miserable and making it impossible to get out of bed.
At my friend’s office, it started with one colleague getting sick and being out for a week, then another, and another, until everyone in her office felt lousy and tired or had to stay home.
Unfortunately, this is the time of year when the germs are circulating and spreading.
According to research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, droplets from sneezes and coughs can travel up to 200 times farther than previously believed. So when a person sneeze or coughs, he isn’t sharing his germs with his closest officemates but potentially the entire office.
And the truth is when one person gets sick, it can impact the entire office – from work productivity to others getting sick too.
Here are a few steps you can take to fight the germs in your office and keep your staff healthy.
- Encourage your employees to get a flu shot.
- Be diligent about keeping the office clean. If someone has been sick, have them wipe down their work area with disinfectant wipes. Make sure to keep common areas clean such as bathrooms, kitchen, and conference rooms. Wipe down doorknobs and light switches. If you have hired a cleaning service, ask them to take extra care keeping these areas clean. If you don’t have a cleaning service, the winter months might be a good time to hire one and worth the investment.
- If an employee is ill, ask them to stay home. It is better he or she misses a few days of work rather than getting the entire office sick. If they start feeling yucky during their work day, have them go home and get some rest.
- Encourage your employees to get plenty of rest, eat healthy and take care of themselves. November and December are busy, crazy months with both work and the holidays.
- Be armed with tissues, hand sanitizer and disinfect wipes.
- Stock the refrigerator with water, orange juice and healthy snacks.
My friend, so far, has avoided getting sick. And while she has felt lousy, she has combated the bug by going to bed early and taking care of herself.
And if she does get sick, she has a game plan.
Stay in bed and reread “And then there were none.”
Here’s to staying healthy this winter.