10 Tips for Avoiding Sickness at the Office This Winter

Man blowing his nose

Offices seem to be a breeding ground for sickness during the winter months. There’s constantly something going around, being passed from coworker to coworker.

It may seem inevitable that you’ll get the latest cold or bug that’s making its way through the office, but the truth is there are some things you can do to keep sickness at bay.

Looking for ways to stay healthy and keep sickness away this winter? Here are a few tips and tricks to help you avoid germs at the office.

How to Avoid Germs at the Office: 10 Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter

Wash Your Hands – Frequently, and the Right Way

Let’s start with the basics. Washing your hands seems like a no brainer, but making sure you’re doing so frequently – and the right way – can make a big difference when it comes to avoiding germs and bacteria in the office.

When you wash your hands, lather them up with soap and water and scrub thoroughly. Don’t just rinse them. Avoid the communal towel; instead, seek out clean paper towels to dry off.

If you’re washing your hands on your way out of the bathroom, use the paper towel to open the door. Otherwise, you’re undoing all the good you’ve done washing as soon as you make contact with the doorknob.  

In addition to washing your hands after you use the restroom, be sure to do so before eating, and periodically throughout the day as well.

Get the Flu Shot

This may seem like another no brainer, but many employees don’t do it! If you work in an office with other people, it’s highly recommended that you get a flu shot each year – assuming there’s no reason that you shouldn’t. Always speak with your doctor before making the choice.

The flu can spread like wildfire in close quarters, so protecting yourself by getting vaccinated is an important and relatively easy way to lessen the chances that you’ll come down with the flu this winter.

Boost Your Immunity

Try to keep your natural immunity up by eating healthy. Seek out sources of Vitamin C and make sure your diet includes foods that are high in anti-oxidents to help fight colds and other common winter ailments.

Wipe Things Down With Antibacterial Wipes

Doorknobs, the company coffee pot, the refrigerator door handle, kitchen countertops, your desk – wipe them all down with germ-killing wipes. Germs can fester on these surfaces, and they multiply quickly in areas that many people touch repeatedly throughout the day.

Put some canisters of wipes throughout the office and encourage your coworkers to do the same. Making it a team effort can make it much easier and more efficient to keep germs to a minimum throughout the office.

Don’t Eat At Your Desk

Believe it or not, the surface of your desk is covered in germs. No matter how neat and organized you are, it’s nearly impossible to keep your workspace germ-free.

As a result, it’s not always a good idea to eat lunch at your desk. Instead, eat in a place – like the kitchen or the break room – where the surfaces are regularly disinfected and wiped down.

If you do choose to eat lunch at your desk – or anywhere in the office for that matter – wipe the area down with a disinfectant before you dig in. This extra step could help to protect you from germs loitering in the area.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is very important for many reasons, but it turns out that being well rested can help you to fight germs and combat sickness.

During the winter, make an extra effort to get enough sleep so your body is better equipped to handle the germs and bacteria that will inevitably come your way.

Keep Warm

Research has shown that staying warm can actually help to keep you healthy. Warmer body temperatures can help you to more effectively combat viruses and germs, including the common cold.

Sometimes staying warm at the office is easier said than done in the winter when it’s bitter cold. Try adding a space heater to your workspace, or bringing a blanket or shawl into the office to use when you catch a chill.

Avoid Extra Stress

Holiday stress is somewhat inevitable this time of year. With all of your work responsibilities in addition to lots of commitments outside of work, winter can be a chaotic time. If you can avoid taking on anything that causes you a large amount of extra stress, that’s probably in your best interest.

It turns out that stress hormones can reduce your body’s ability to effectively fight germs and bacteria. That means the more stressed out you are, the less able your body is to fight off sickness. Try to set aside time to unwind and de-stress to keep yourself in better shape.

Exercise

During the hectic winter season, exercise often tends to fall to the wayside. But regular exercise and activity tend to boost your body’s immune function, helping to make you more able to combat germs and disease.

If you can, keep your regular exercise routine intact during the winter. Try to squeeze in a walk or a quick workout even on busy days at the office. Your body will thank you.

Stay Home If You’re Feeling Under the Weather

Another great way to avoid germs in the office is to not bring your germs to the office. If you’re feeling sick or you know you’re coming down with something, don’t go in to work. Take a sick day or work from home.

It’s in everyone’s best interest if sick employees stay home. While it may impact productivity a bit, it’s better than causing an office-wide plague that results in a series of work absences.

Combat Office Germs This Winter!

Implement some (or all) of these tips and there’s a good chance you’ll be better able to avoid office sickness this winter.

Looking for other ideas to make your workplace healthier? Check out these helpful articles for other healthy ways to enhance your workspace!

7 Ways to Make Your Workspace Healthier – Find out which office elements could be negatively impacting your health – and how to fix them.

Office Cleaning Checklist – Great for freshening up your space in the spring, or anytime of the year!

The Benefits of Office Plants – Find out how plants can improve your work environment!