How to Avoid Common Illness in the Workplace

01st September 2021

It’s probably not the best idea to attend work when you’re ill. However with tight deadlines and outstanding work some employees may feel obliged to come in while feeling unwell.

Whilst you cannot necessarily control what your colleagues choose to do. You can take a peek at some of our tips below to avoid workplace illness. 

Tips to avoid getting a common cold or illness at work

Have a balanced diet

A balanced diet gives your body all the essential nutrients and energy required to survive, stay healthy and energised. Not only does this help you fend off illness it also reduces the chances of future health problems such as heart problems, cancer and obesity.  

A healthy diet includes:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Bread, pasta and other starchy carbohydrates
  • Meat, beans, pulses, or other vegetarian/vegan sources of protein
  • Dairy products or vegan alternatives 
  • Plenty of water and fluids (6-8 glasses a day)
  • Oils and spreads in small quantities
  • Processed snacks and treats in small quantities

Alongside keeping your immune system balanced and ready to fight. Eating a healthy diet comes with countless other benefits including:

  • Reduced risk of health problems and disease
  • Improved memory
  • Better mood
  • Stronger bones and teeth
  • Weight loss or maintenance

To accompany your balanced diet it’s important to ensure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals they are essential for your body to function and your immune system to perform optimally.

Keep the workplace tidy

Most work environments soon get dirty which allows for germs and bacteria to multiply. It’s important to routinely clean your workspace especially if it’s shared.

Disinfect and dust your workspace

If you work in an office then you’ll be touching your keyboard, mouse and telephone for most of the day. 

Germs, bacteria and dirt can build up making it one of the dirtiest surfaces we touch. Telephones are also bad for picking up germs. 

Touching these surfaces then touching your face creates a recipe for a cold or sickness bug.

Other workspaces such as workshops and retail shops can also harness germs especially if it’s shared. So it’s important to keep it tidy. 

Keep your bin empty and disinfect it every so often and avoid leaving food waste in there for too long. 

Leave eating for the canteen

Not only does eating at your workspace open the chance for crumbs to get everywhere and sauces to damage your electronic devices, but it also increases the chances of spreading germs that could make you sick. Especially if you’re working while eating. 

Eating at your desk makes it even harder to keep your keyboard and mouse clean. Your colleagues may thank you too if you’re a loud eater or like strong-smelling foods. The best thing to do is to take a break to properly enjoy your food before returning to work. 

Use the storage around you to keep things simple

If you work from home then investing in a good set of drawers and desk organisers allows you to only leave the essentials out on your desk. 

If you work in a workshop then keeping everything organised and tucked away not only helps keep your workspace clean but also safe and reduces the risk of injury. 

Following these tips greatly reduces the chances of illness in the workplace, will improve the overall hygiene of your workspace and will also improve your productivity and organisation leaving a good impression on any visitors.

Reduce stress and get some sleep

Tips on how to reduce overall stress:

  • Exercise regularly 
  • Try meditation or Yoga
  • Plan ahead and be organised
  • Breathe
  • Take breaks

Struggling with stress? Check out this NHS resource or speak to your GP if you’re concerned. We also have a previous blog post about reducing your stress at work.

Getting sleep is important for you to function and perform your best. Regularly missing sleep and being deprived can result in changes to your energy leaving you feeling lethargic, can increase the risk of having mental health issues, weaken your immune system and increase the risk of disease.

Symptoms you may not be getting enough sleep:

  • Feeling tired, irritable and yawning throughout the day
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing on a task
  • Struggling to get out of bed in the morning
  • Napping during the day
  • Mood changes

If you’re having issues sleeping consult take a look at this NHS resource or consult your GP. We also have a previous blog post on sleeping disorders at work for you to browse.

DBOCC can provide a sickness management service and also a corporate flu vaccination program to prevent winter absence. Get in touch with a member of our team today for more information.

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