It's the season of sniffles, fevers and sometimes giving your employees and yourself permission to stay home.

Cold and flu season runs from about October to May, and last season it resulted in 111 million lost workdays, according to City Wide Maintenance of Tampa Bay.

One of the best things a company can do is encourage sick people to stay home, visit a doctor and rest, because productivity of the whole office can suffer if those germs are spread. But that's easier said than done.

"In a highly competitive work environment, employees are less likely to use their sick days," said Steve Howerton, president of City Wide Maintenance Tampa Bay. "This becomes a problem during cold and flu season, when team members are bringing their contagious illnesses into the workplace instead of staying home to recover."

So what do team leaders do when their employees refuse to stay home? Plan B.

When you can't keep the germs out of the office, keep the office clean by adding an accelerated cleaning schedule during flu season, including placing hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes around the office so employees can conveniently disinfect their workspaces.

Here are some other tips to keep those germs at bay:

  • Clean and disinfect your keyboard, desktop, phone and any shared objects like door handles and the microwave 
  • Place hand sanitizer and disinfectant around the office 
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water throughout the day 
  • Get your vitamin C and plenty of sleep during the flu season months

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