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How Can You Stay Healthy in the Workplace?

Workplace absenteeism costs employers a collective $225.8 billion annually, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Beyond costing your employer in productivity losses, illness costs you in lost work time and lost pay. How can you reduce the risks of illness? Take a look at the top tips for staying healthy in the workplace.

Wash Your Hands

The CDC recommends washing your hands for 20 seconds, using soap and water. If you don’t have soap and running water available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer instead.

When should you wash your hands? While you don’t have to spend the work day lathering up, always wash:

  • After sneezing/coughing. This practice may not save you from getting sick (especially if you’re already feeling the effects of a cold). But it can help to stop the spread of sickness around the office.
  • After using the restroom. This stops the spread of bacteria from the restroom into the rest of the office. It can also reduce the risk of getting sick from microscopic organisms that you may have picked up in the restroom.
  • Before eating. Germs can travel from your hands to your food to your mouth, spreading illnesses. Stop the spread by washing before you touch food or utensils.
  • After eating. Washing after you’ve touched your mouth can help reduce risks for your office-mates.

Along with these scenarios, also wash your hands after coming in contact with anything a sick co-worker touched.

Use Your Own Equipment

If using communal items isn’t a necessity, don’t do it. Phones, keyboards, a computer mouse, writing utensils, and anything else that your co-workers touch often can harbor bacteria or viruses. The same goes for the handle on the office water cooler, doorknobs, desk tops, and counter spaces. If you absolutely have to use any shared item:

  • Wash it first. A quick bath with an alcohol-based sanitizer or sanitizing wipe can reduce the risks of catching something from a communal item.
  • Wash yourself afterwards. Always wash your hands after using any communal item.
  • Watch the item. If you see someone sneeze into a shared phone or cough onto the copier’s keys, either avoid the item or clean it well before using.
  • Avoid facial contact. If possible, don’t put your mouth or nose near the item (such as using a speaker phone function instead of putting your face to the receiver).

Besides avoiding communal equipment (anything that’s specifically designated as a shared item), don’t borrow from co-worker’s — especially if they’re absent. A co-worker who is at home sick may have left their germs behind on a computer keyboard, desk, or any other office item.

Go to a Doctor

Visiting a medical professional when you’re sick provides benefits to you and your co-workers. Not only will your visit take you, and your illness, out of the office and away from healthy co-workers, but it will also:

  • Help you to heal faster. While some illnesses (such as the common cold) have no cure, a medical professional can recommend treatments or provide ideas that help you to feel better sooner. If the illness is bacterial, they can prescribe a medication.
  • Provide peace of mind. Do you have the flu, or is it just a cold? A visit to your local urgent care center offers answers. Don’t waste your work day question what’s wrong with you. Instead, get answers from a professional as soon as possible.
  • Give you guidance. Knowledge is power. What do you need to know about staying healthy in the workplace? A doctor or other health care professional can give you their expert opinion.

Don’t waste time waiting for an appointment at your primary care physician’s office. If you feel fluish, can’t stop coughing, or have another illness-related issue, an urgent care center offers almost-immediate relief.

Where can you see a medical professional ASAP? Contact Premier Urgent Care Centers of California, Inc., for more information.

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