No one likes getting sick. Having a cold can completely put you out of commission for days. As business people in a fast paced modern world, we just can’t afford to take the time off of work. The problem is if you decide to go into the office while sick, you’re not going to recover the way you should. In the end, you just end up being sicker for longer, and ultimately hurting your productivity more than if you had just taken a day and gotten the rest you need.
So what is the solution? Prevent the cold before it happens, of course! And as always, at PJP we want to help you be more productive in your business. So, with the help of our friends from GOJO Industries, we’ve compiled a list of 4 easy steps you can take to prevent the common cold.
1) Wash Your Hands (But Make Sure You Do It Right)
Okay, I know that right now you’re saying, “PJP, come on. We know we’re supposed to wash our hands.” Of course you know that, everyone knows that. But did you know that you’re supposed to spend at least 20 seconds washing your hands with hot water and soap if you want it to be affective? That’s right, a simple splash of the water isn’t going to get the job done. It may seem obvious, but most people don’t spend enough time at the sink when washing their hands, and if they don’t they might as well not have washed their hands at all.
Also, according to Jim Arbogast, PhD, Vice President of Gygiene Sciences and Public Health Advancements for Skin Health at GOJO, unless you are a nurse or a doctor, there are 5 important moments each day you should make sure you wash your hands.
- Before you come in contact with a sick friend or family member.
- After you’ve come in contact with a sick friend or family member.
- Before preparing food.
- After preparing food.
- Before you eat anything.
And remember, these are just the most important times to wash your hands. You come in contact with germs all day long, so there are plenty of other instances when you should definitely wash up.
2) Get More Sleep
Studies have shown that if you’re not getting at least 6 hours of sleep each night you are much more likely to get the cold. How much more likely? As much as four times more likely than people who get 7 or more hours of sleep. Your chances only increase the less sleep you get. Simply put, our bodies need sleep in order for our immune systems to work properly, so if you want to keep yourself healthy this winter, make sure you get enough sleep!
3) Don’t Touch Your Face So Much
This… may seem silly, but you probably touch your face too much.
See, most of the germs that come in contact with your body do so via your hands. That only stands to reason, because our hands are the tools we use to interact with the world, right? But having germs on your skin isn’t actually so bad. The problems really start when the germs get into your bloodstream. That typically can’t happen through your hands, unless you have an open wound for them to get into. The way germs most often get into your bloodstream is through your mucous membranes, also known as your eyes, nose and mouth. That’s right, every time you touch your face you’re giving the germs you picked up throughout the day a chance to make their way into your blood stream. An easy way to prevent this is to wash your hands before you have to touch your face.
It’s a difficult habit to break, for sure, but it can help you stay healthy!
4) Don’t Let Your Employees Come to Work Sick
We already discussed how coming into work sick can end up hurting your overall productivity. Getting enough rest to kick an illness fully before coming back to work is important, but there’s more to it than that. Each time you come into the office when you’re sick you’re exposing everyone you work with to your illnesses. It’s no coincidence that most colds spread through the office like wildfire. And remember, it’s not just about you. It’s also about your employees. It can be devastating to have an employee call out of work sick, but remember that one employee missing one day will actually hurt your overall productivity less than if he or she brings their illness to the office and spreads it to their colleagues. The best policy for you to have as an employer is to encourage employees to take days off when they are sick, rather than expose your entire workforce to a bad cold.
But it’s also important to encourage your employees to take the steps we listed above as well! The best way to keep a healthy and productive workforce is to prevent them from getting sick in the first place. This works out best for everyone. Employees don’t have to waste their precious paid time off on sick days and you don’t have to have unexpected absences from your workforce!