• Matthew Blair

Basic Tips for the Workplace During a Flu Epidemic

The task now is to try and prevent the spread of the virus, masks are not going to help, its basic hygiene that individuals and businesses should be focusing on.

Basic controls - ALL

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and warm water or sanitise them with an alcohol-based hand rub.

  • Staff should be advised to wash hands after returning from public places, particularly where they have used public transport.

  • Ensure work surfaces are cleaned and disinfected regularly and thoroughly.

  • Cover nose and mouth with tissue paper when sneezing or coughing and have the tissue paper discarded into lidded bins afterwards.

  • Ensure waste is removed on a regular basis. Individuals with signs and symptoms of respiratory infections (such as coughing, sneezing, headache etc.), must ensure respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette should be observed.

  • If staff have travelled to affected countries and feel unwell, they should seek medical advice promptly to prevent spreading the infection. Call 111, do not attend the GP surgery or A&E directly - check NHS guidance

  • Staff should not share personal items such as towels and razors – change all hand drying to paper disposable towels if not already the case.

  • Cover wounds or cuts with waterproof dressings.

  • Heating and ventilation should be in good working order and maintained.

Provision of resources - Business & Management

Ensure materials for cleaning and washing of hands are available:

  • Where wash hand basins are available, ensure liquid antibacterial soap and disposable towels are consistently available.

  • Provide conveniently-located dispensers of alcohol-based hand rub.

  • Provide lidded bins for used tissues and paper towel disposal.

Coughing and sneezing etiquette - ALL

Respiratory hygiene (cough & sneezing etiquette) is a control measure. Staff & guests should be reminded to perform the following when they cough or sneeze:

  • Cover mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

  • Use tissue paper 'catch-it, bin-it – kill-it' – in lidded bins or flushed down a toilet.

  • Wash hands afterwards.

  • Whilst not advised at present– consider the offer of surgical masks to persons with respiratory symptoms, especially during any identified epidemic. Remember, surgical masks do not protect the wearer, but they help prevent them spreading any infection.

Follow these tips above to help ensure that your office environment it safe to work in and that your business remains as productive as possible.

Simple advice for business to stay productive!

  • Businesses need to rapidly improve technology - make sure that a VPN is set up that allows employees to work from home or on the move

  • Buy your 'non-essential' office staff a flexible working membership. There are plenty of brands that that offer these lounge or coworking memberships from as little as £50 per month.

  • Give people to option to work from home, especially when it's not essential to travel using busy public transport.

  • Publish a etiquette guideline to ensure staff keep the office areas germ free.

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