As summer comes to a close and we move into the fall and winter months it’s important to take precautions to ensure a healthy work environment. The eight hours you spend every day at the office is time that your immune system is bombarded with hundreds of contagions that can cause illness. In most cases the workplace is a closed environment with little care taken to ensure sanitation so it is crucial that you take measures into your own hands.

The most important preventative measure you can take is also the most basic. As a child your mother probably told you to wash your hands constantly and the same applies here. Proper hand sanitation is not only important for your own health but could also prevent and spread of illness to others. Most people think they do an adequate job when it comes to hand sanitation but many fail to wash the tops of their hands and lower arms. Any part of your body that is exposed to communal surfaces is at risk for contamination. In order to truly clean your hands it’s important to scrub all surfaces vigorously with soap. Water alone is not sufficient and in some cases may actually make matters worse as unclean damp hands are a breeding ground for bacteria.

Special Presentation: Hidden Germs

Shared objects within the office can be health risk for employees. If more than one person uses a computer console take time to clean the mouse and keyboard regularly. Avoid contact with other employees’ pens and writing utensils and never place them in your mouth. While this last point may seem obvious many people do it subconsciously. Also, since everything you touch is potentially infected avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Avoid unnecessary stress whenever possible. While this may not be entirely possible given the nature of your job it is still important to take time to center yourself throughout the work day. Stress and lack of rest can weaken your immune system and make you less resistant to infection. Try to maintain a consistent sleep cycle whenever possible and limit artificial stimulants such as caffeine which might disrupt it. With proper precautions the chances of Flu infection and other illness will be greatly reduced.

– Richard Keene
IT Computer Support of New York
Design and Optimization Department