There are plenty of ways to stay healthy and productive at work. One way is by washing your hands before eating, drinking or using the restroom. The World Health Organization considers hand-washing as “the most important measure to avoid the transmission of harmful germs and prevent healthcare-associated infections.”
To help celebrate National Handwashing Awareness Week, which takes place this December 1-7, 2021, here are a few simple hygiene tips you can follow to prevent illness in the workplace and keep yourself and others healthy.
1. Follow CDC Guidelines
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has information about proper workplace hygiene you can use to start your workplace hygiene policy. The CDC recommends workers wash their hands after using the bathroom, sneezing or coughing into tissues, touching body fluids and bloody items such as bandages, and before everyone eats their food to prevent spreading throughout the office space. Take advantage of this opportunity to protect your company’s workers and leaders by creating an easy-to-follow handwashing policy that is based on the CDC guidelines.
2. Educate Employees On Handwashing
The number one way to keep your employees healthy is by teaching them how to maintain great workplace hygiene. Promote and model good hygiene habits such as covering coughs and sneezes while washing your hands. With proper handwashing and disinfection techniques, you can protect the people who work with you from diseases like viruses or bacteria every day. Everyone needs to understand
3. Encourage Regular Handwashing Habits
Employers should remind their employees to wash their hands frequently and discourage employees from bringing their smartphones into the bathrooms. Employees can use soap and water or hand sanitizer if there isn’t a sink nearby. Key moments for this include after breaks, after coughing, sneezing or blowing their noses, using the restroom, and before eating food that was prepared by them in a restaurant setting with unprotected surfaces like tables or kitchen counters.
The average person’s smartphone will be covered in germs after touching the toilet seat, doorknob, or any other commonly touched surfaces. The problem is amplified by people who wash their hands and then pick up their phones without drying them off first – they are undoing all of that good work and could harm themselves as well as those around them.
4. Provide Sanitizing Supplies
One way to make the workplace more inclusive is by increasing access to sinks. This would be especially helpful in places such as bathrooms, food preparation areas, and eating areas where people might have to queue up to wash their hands. Fill all soap dispensers and paper towel dispensers so employees can wash their hands before preparing food or operating machinery.
You should also equip your business with tissues and no-touch trash cans to maintain a clean environment. Antibacterial door handles can also keep your employees’ hands clean and prevent the spread of infection.
5. Have Free Hand Sanitation Stations Available
Keep your business’ environment clean and safe by installing hand sanitizer stations. If possible, sanitizer stations should be placed near elevators or entrances and exits that would make life easier for employees when access to the products is needed quickly. This will also prevent bacteria from spreading from person to person.
6. Set Up Signs
Reminding employees with visual reminders placed around the office to keep their hands clean. Remember to keep these signs easy to read and ADA compliant. Signs like these will help remind people of when, why and how often they need to wash their hands to avoid contracting colds and other viruses from other co-workers.
7. Keep Workplace Communal Areas Clean At All Times
Ensuring communal areas are cleaned regularly is important. This includes the kitchen, reception and stair rails among other places that people come into contact with on a regular basis. Antibacterial sprays and wipes can stop pathogens from spreading after they touch one another or enter the air, providing up to 24 hours of protection.
8. Hire Professional Cleaners
By hiring professional cleaners and disinfectors for your workplace, you can empower people to maintain a clean environment. Not only do these services help with infection control, but they also create a positive cycle that encourages everyone to do their part to keep the workplace safe, healthy, and clean. Otherwise, you can create a rotating schedule to ensure each employee checks these supplies twice every day for a week if you don’t have professional cleaners for your workplace.
Uphold High Standards of Handwashing At Work
Employee absences due to illness reduce production and morale at work. Much of the transmission between employees is preventable. Encourage your workers to wash their hands regularly to not only keep them healthy but to prevent germs from spreading. Regular handwashing at work will also improve attendance, reduce sick days, and keep your staff happy and healthy throughout the year.