Employees spend a lot of their time on business premises. They come in close contact with colleagues and use shared devices in the office. Consequently, this can increase their risk of exposure to harmful pollutants and viruses.
Some office supplies and chemicals can also cause distress to your employees’ health. For example, cleaning agents, aerosol products, insecticides, solvents, and similar harmful substances may trigger certain respiratory illnesses and allergic reactions.
Consequences of Unclean Work Stations
When a team member gets sick, they might be absent for days, resulting in the accumulation of unfinished tasks. If this particular person is a leader in your operations, their absence might disrupt business activities and result in delays. Unfortunately, this may affect your business’ reputation, risk client morale, and harm your bottom line.
Moreover, an unclean work environment can impact your team members’ performance. For instance, if your staff members almost always have concentration problems or feel lethargic most days, these might be signs of a compromised and untidy workspace.
A Clean Workspace Is a Safe Workspace
Some illnesses arise from workplace conditions, exposure intensity, the nature of one’s job, and the employee’s susceptibility to acquiring a particular disease. Some of these hazards might not be eliminated, but they can be minimized to control the spread of illness in the workplace.
For instance, if you have employees who have asthma, investing in a heavy duty air purifier and other air-cleaning devices can help you significantly reduce the allergens and contaminants in your office.
This initiative can potentially prevent asthma attacks, breathing ailments, and airborne illnesses that can be transmitted by inhaling pollutants. In turn, this can keep others safe from constant exposure to respiratory sickness.
Risk Management and Prevention Strategies
Apart from investing in air-cleaning devices, below are other ways to steer clear of and control illness in the workplace.
- Practice Good Hygiene
Observing basic and proper hygiene is one crucial way to reduce the risk of illness in your workplace. With this, make sure to have personal hygiene posters and reminders around your business premises to remind employees of the importance of regular hand washing. You can also include steps on how to wash their hands properly.
Designate hand washing facilities, and make sure there’s enough water, liquid soap, and tissue available. If you’ve run out of soap, place hand sanitizers in those areas to serve as a backup option. Also, encourage them to keep a bottle of hand sanitizer or alcohol at their desk to keep themselves germ-free if they’ve touched a dirty item or a colleague unexpectedly sneezes in front of them. If it’s impossible to rush to the nearest hand washing area, such alternatives will help them manage the situation.
Apart from implementing hand washing policies, inform your staff about other hygiene practices. For instance, they must refrain from sharing personal items such as towels, hair combs, and clothes.
Educating your team members about proper health measures and reinforcing policies can help them develop good hygiene habits over time. When practiced consistently, this can control and prevent the rise of illnesses in your business.
- Stock Up On Healthy Snacks
Another way to prevent illness in the workplace is to encourage your employees to make healthier food choices to strengthen their immunity, boost their energy, keep them mentally sharp, and minimize the risk for certain diseases.
While it can be helpful to remind them to eat healthy, doing so can be difficult when processed snacks and sweet treats are available in your company. It can also be quite challenging to prioritize eating healthy when you’re already drained from work.
Because of this, make sure to keep a stash of affordable, tasty, and nutritious snacks in your pantry and vending machines. You can have fruits, nuts, yogurt, dried berries, granola bars, oatmeal, and similar alternatives. Don’t store junk food anywhere in the office. In this manner, your team will be more encouraged to snack up on healthy sources.
Likewise, lead by example by drinking more water, not skipping meals, and opting for healthier food options. If you can display good eating habits to your employees, they’ll be more encouraged to follow the same behavior.
The quality of your team members’ diets can significantly affect their brain function and focus, ultimately influencing their performance and workplace success.
- Keep Your Stations Clean and Tidy
It’s crucial to keep your workstations in excellent condition. Damp areas and excess moisture can create a suitable environment for mold and bacteria to multiply, increasing the risk for certain airborne illnesses. What’s more, remediating the harm brought by mold and mildew is far more expensive compared to preventing their growth in the first place.
Moreover, a disorganized space can cause distraction and stress, which can result in unproductive work. A New York Times article reported that clutter could negatively impact mental well-being. Apart from keeping an eye on physical illnesses, pay attention to your employees’ mental health, and remind your staff to clear away any mess so they can move freely at their workstations.
Implement work policies such as returning office supplies to where they belong, cleaning as you go, wiping off spilled liquids promptly, and taking out the trash before it starts to smell. Hire a commercial cleaning company to disinfect areas and maintain the cleanliness of your office. All these initiatives can help you ensure that your office is free from mold, dirt, dust, and contaminants that can harm the health of your staff.
- Check Your Air Conditioning Units
With no adequate ventilation systems, enclosed business areas can trap pollutants, rapidly spreading allergens and infectious diseases. Being exposed to this poor air quality may aggravate allergic reactions.
Because of this, your air conditioning (AC) system should undergo maintenance checks to unclog dirty filters and ensure that it’s circulating clean air. When successful, not only will this help you maintain the operational efficiency of your AC units, but you can also keep your office smelling pleasant.
Because of the harm posed by pollutants, germs, and clutter in your workspace, it’s important to arm your business with strategies to prevent and control the rise of certain illnesses. By following the methods above, you’ll be able to keep your employees healthy and productive without a problem.
Moreover, when your employees recognize your efforts of maintaining a clean workspace, this can increase their morale, which would boost their commitment to work.