Diseases and infections in the office: 6 tips for protection against infection


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Not only do suddenly occurring virus diseases frighten people, but also harmless colds can quickly paralyze entire businesses. What should I do?

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisher, German Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.

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Beware of infection in the office

That fear of infection in many Company is actually no wonder: every second employee drags himself sick to the office with a fever. Therefore, the quarantine, into which entire companies are put during the Corona Virus, for example, seems almost a little ridiculous: In principle, sick workers should always stay at home to avoid infecting anyone. What can you do to protect yourself against all kinds of infections and above all infection?

The whole thing is no longer limited to certain seasons: winter cold waves, in addition to snow and frost, also bring an increased risk of infection for colds and flu infections in tow:

Beware of the virus spinner in the office

But those who have happily escaped it so far have to be particularly careful in one place: in the office!

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Because here the far greater danger lurks at the latest in (high) summer due to air conditioning and the change between hot and cold outside. In addition, it increases the risk of contagion considerably, working together with other people day after day in sometimes confined spaces. No amount of caution helps here either.

Every second person is sick in the office

Especially since the reality in companies is often very different: the throat hurts, the nose runs and the clinical thermometer already shows 38 degrees Celsius - nevertheless almost every second employee in Germany drags himself sick to the office, the health monitor of the Bertelsmann Foundation has determined.

This is risky because those who work sick are not productive, infect their colleagues and risk complications such as an inflammation of the heart. With fever and other severe complaints you should definitely stay at home. But the risk of infection also lurks at the workplace - for example in meetings or when making customer contacts.

Sick letters for more productivity

For work productivity in companies, it would therefore make sense if everyone who developed an infection were immediately sick. Because if you are sick, you can be physically present, but as a rule you only drive half the force - hardly a trace of productivity.

At the same time, the infected employee is a ticking time bomb: First, an infection can grow to serious illnesses such as pneumonia. Secondly, one sick person is likely to infect all other, still healthy colleagues. This can lead to the fact that the entire workforce soon dies. So it would be wise in a number of ways if sick employees just stayed at home.

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Managers and Health: Theory vs. practice

In practice, unfortunately, the situation is very different: Because of trivialities in times of constant stress, high job fluctuation and unemployment, no one is on sick leave, but tries at all costs to do his thing. So here the bosses would be asked to act just as carefully with small infections as with Corona, for example.

Unfortunately, the superiors also work according to the eye-to-and-through principle: instead of sending some of the sick people home, they hope that the others will not be infected - and then a week later wonder why in the company nothing works anymore. What myopic behavior.

Infection by secretion droplets: simple measures help

Even simple hygiene measures can help prevent a wave of illness and protect the workforce. Classic infectious diseases spread through secretion droplets that fly up to two meters when sneezing or coughing.

You can reach the doorknobs, keyboard or telephone using your hands. Regular wiping of devices that are shared by several people, and especially frequent hand washing, minimize the risk of infection.

6 tips against the risk of infection in the office: hygiene helps

There are a few simple rules that everyone who is ill or who wants to protect themselves from viruses should follow:

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  1. Touch your mouth, nose and eyes as rarely as possible and wash your hands more often. The number of pathogens in the air rises quickly in closed rooms.
  2. Heating air dries out the mucous membranes and makes them susceptible to germs. Regular ventilation lowers the risk of infection as does frequent walks outdoors, for example during lunch breaks.
  3. The following applies to meetings: keep your distance. Because germs are usually transmitted directly by shaking hands and welcoming kisses. Especially those who are already sick should avoid direct contact and always keep a sufficient distance from their colleagues
  4. If you have to sneeze or cough, you should bend your arm rather than hand.
  5. Disposable paper towels offer better hygiene than tissue handkerchiefs. Because whoever uses a handkerchief several times exposes himself to the pathogens already in the handkerchief.
  6. Used handkerchiefs should be disposed of immediately.

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