Winter in the Workplace: The Tissue at Hand

Winter is back AGAIN!

It seems like every second person is affected by colds, flu and other nasty winter-related viruses going around. So perhaps it is time to refresh our collective knowledge with a little winter wisdom from the NSW Department of Health…
Keep a supply of clean tissues within arm’s reach so that you can ‘catch’ your sneeze or cough. This prevents water droplets – known germ carriers – from entering the atmosphere and infecting your co-workers. If you can’t get to a tissue in time, then cough or sneeze into your elbow rather than your hands.

How long can germs live on tissues? Apparently, several hours. So don’t leave that tissue on your desk or be tempted to save it for next time, throw it in the bin immediately. In the workplace, leaving a used tissue on your desk is not just icky, it becomes a health concern.

Hand washing is the single most effective way to reduce the spread of germs that cause respiratory disease. How long should you wash your hands for? Many pre-schools teach kids to wash their hands for as long as it takes to sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song twice. That’s almost 20 seconds in my estimation – how many grown-ups wash their hands for more than 5 seconds? If you don’t have access to soap and water, using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser is perfectly acceptable.

Thanks for the tips, RMS, now I can ‘soldier on’!

Wait now, my fellow workaholics…

In the case of the flu, enduring some absences of unwell workers is better than an endless presence of coughing and sneezing in the workplace. We can care for each other, and protect ourselves, by encouraging sick team members to stay away from work and rest until symptoms are gone. It is very simple: if you are sick, stay home.

So, remember to keep the tissues at hand this winter so you can; Catch it! Kill it! Bin it!

Here’s a great poster from the NSW Department of Health that you can print and put up in your workplace as a reminder.