Prevent colds and flu from spreading around your office this winter

Its officially Autumn and if you work in an office, the likelihood is that you’re currently sat listening to many of your colleagues sneezing and coughing. Autumn is the start of cold and flu season and when you work in such a close environment, the cold and flu germs spread fast!

The advice we are often given seems obvious, wash your hands, don’t touch your face and sneeze into a tissue to try and stop spreading your germs. But what other things can you do to stop germs spreading around your business?

Remind your employees about the importance of hand washing

Washing your hands with soap and water is the most effective way to help prevent the spread of germs. Simply running your hands briefly under the tap wont get rid of them, its important to make sure hands are washed thoroughly and dried with a paper towel to rid yourself of any germs that may be lurking.

Keep your desk clean

Colds & flu are not just passed from person to person, but they are also passed from surface to surface. If your workspace is a shared hot desk, take the time to wipe down items like the phone, mouse and keyboard, to make sure you don’t pick up any germs left over by the last user. Leave hand sanitiser and surface wipes on the end of every block of desks to remind people to clean their hands and desks regularly.

Clean shared items

Many offices have communal printers, kettles, fridges and microwaves. It’s important to give the buttons and handles on these devices a clean down once a day, to rid them of any harmful germs.

Be aware of shaking hands

Make sure you wash your hands before and after attending meetings, this will help limit the spread of germs. If you’re in the situation where a handshake is necessary and you have a cold, politely refuse it all together to make sure you don’t spread your germs onto the other person.

Take a sick day

Taking the time to get better and keeping your germs away from the workplace can prevent the ‘snowball effect’ off passing germs and illness through the office. If you really don’t have the time to take a few days off, consider working from home.


Sleep is one of the most important things when trying to stay healthy. You should aim to get 7-8 hours sleep per night. If you’re particularly busy at work, try adopting a relaxing routine to help yourself wind down before you go to bed. You should turn off any electronic devices at least an hour before you plan on going to sleep and try having a long warm bath or doing gentle stretches to help relieve yourself of any stress from the day.

Eat your greens

Eating a balanced diet filled with lots of yellow, red, green and orange fruits and vegetables will help strengthen your immune system and help you fight viruses when they hit.


It’s been proven that having high stress levels decreases your immunity. As an employer you should introduce wellness programmes into your workplace, such as health and fitness classes, walking clubs and lifestyle coaching.

Regular exercise

Exercising regularly can help build up your resistance to cold and flu germs. Encourage your employees to take lunch time walks, use the stairs and go over and talk to eachother instead of sending emails. Offering discounted corporate gym memberships will also help when trying to get your staff members to become more active.



Pam Wakefield - Facilities Supplies Specialist
This post was written by
Pam Wakefield - Facilities Supplies Specialist