Tips for Keeping Employees Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

Healthy Life sign with road background: How to Keep Your Office HealthyWinter is not over yet so keep your good health goals in mind! We are hearing stories of flus and colds spreading around local offices. Here are some tips to keep you and your employees healthy.

1. Encourage employees to keep their desks clean. Have some natural cleansing spray bottles at shared stations so workers can periodically wipe down their phones, computers and desks. If you have a professional cleaning company, ask them to wipe down shared countertops regularly.

2. Have a pitcher of lemon water in the office fridge. Lemons are high in vitamin C, which is great for fighting colds and fighting the negative effects of stress. They’re high in potassium, which stimulates brain and nerve function. Potassium also helps control blood pressure.

3. Set out a bowl of citrus fruits to share with employees to encourage healthy eating and increased vitamin C intake.

4. Have portable water filters available for all office workers. Supply healthy teas to share with employees and encourage increasing water intake (especially warm).

5. Cut back on sugary snacks in the office. Sugar can suppress the immune system. Studies have shown that downing sugar in the amount that is contained in two average 12-ounce sodas can suppress the body’s immune responses. Sugar also promotes inflammation.

6. Encourage frequent hand washing. According to the CDC, hand washing:

  • Reduces diarrheal illness in people with weakened immune systems by 58%
  • Reduces respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by 16-21%
  • Reduces absenteeism due to gastrointestinal illness in schoolchildren by 29-57%

7. Bring in plants. Studies by scientists report that plants can absorb harmful gases through pores on their leaves. Scientists studying the air-purification capacities of indoor plants have found that plants can absorb many other gases in addition to carbon dioxide, including a long list of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Benzene (found in some plastics, fabrics, pesticides and cigarette smoke) and formaldehyde (found in some cosmetics, dish detergent, fabric softener and carpet cleaner) are examples of common indoor VOCs that plants help eliminate. According to, some of the plants that are good for purifying air are: Japanese royal ferns, spider plants, Boston ferns, purple waffle plants, English ivy, areca palms, golden pothos, aloe vera, snake plants, and peace lilies.

More info on the benefits of houseplants here:

8. Educate employees on the importance of getting enough sleep and ways to lower stress perception. Lack of sleep and increased stress can lower immunity levels & cause increased susceptibility to colds and flus.

9. Explain to employees the importance of getting their vitamin D levels checked, or getting sun on their bodies as much as possible. If you are living in the Northern Countries like Sweden, either vacation in the tropics or a possible vitamin D supplement might be in order if advised by the doctor.

10. Encourage people to stay home if they have flu symptoms.

11. Post a list of flu symptoms to watch for & tips for preventing flu in a common area.

12. Manage expectations with clients. During flu season there may be fewer hands on deck, which gives the people that are in the office potentially a lot more work. Also think of the reverse in other offices. Be patient with them so you don’t add to their stress. And remember, everyone is doing their best!

Last but not least, remember that elevated moods promote happiness and good health. You may enjoy our previous post on how to promote happiness in your office.

We have a fun handout on happiness that you and your employees might enjoy as well.

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