As Australians head into the winter months after returning to work post-COVID, workplace health and hygiene has never been more important. With the pandemic ever present and influenza cases on the rise, we spoke to Terri Goldstein, Medical and Health Specialist at Winc, for her best advice on what to do and what not to do when returning to the office.
Do: Step up your hand hygiene
“Stop the spread of infection by maintaining personal hygiene habits. Avoid handshakes and instead go for a polite wave to minimise any physical contact that could further expose you to germs,” says Terri.
In a typical working day, you’re bound to touch many surfaces – think door handles, desks and communal appliances – therefore always remember to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly. This is the new office normal, so ensure that you follow workplace hygiene protocol and keep your hands clean and sanitisers nearby.
Don’t: Forget to respect social distancing
Even though formal restrictions have been lifted, it’s still good practice to keep a little distance from others. Terri tells us, “after two years of social distancing, people may feel uneasy in places with a lot more people, such as lunchrooms and elevators, so keep your distance when it becomes a little too crowded. Be mindful of your fellow colleagues and maintain boundaries when in office common areas.”
Do: Clean your desk every time you come in and before you leave
According to a study, a keyboard could have anywhere from three times more bacteria than a toilet seat1. If you’re looking around for anti-bacterial wipes, you’re not alone. Recent research has shown that an overwhelming number of Australian workers want their workplace to provide health and hygiene items, with the top items being hand sanitiser, “self-service” items such as disinfectant sprays and antibacterial wipes, and single-use products such as gloves, paper towels, tissues2.
Ensure your workstation is clutter-free and use these essentials to wipe down your desk, headset and other accessories often, every time you come in and every time you leave for the day. “Surfaces that are touched frequently should be cleaned and disinfected at least once a day. Use tech-safe wipes to keep your workspace clean and germ free,” recommends Terri.
Don’t: Spend time in the workplace if you feel unwell
If you feel like you’re coming down with something, opt to work from home as soon as you feel symptoms arise. This is a great opportunity for those who are feeling “slightly under the weather” to recuperate while maintaining productivity. “Recovering at home can help reduce the risk of sickness spreading throughout the workplace, which is a win-win for everyone,” advises Terri.
Do: Get your flu shot
As influenza cases continue to circulate in the community, now’s the time to book in your flu shot. “With restrictions, lockdowns and many people working from home for the better part of two years, we’ve been less exposed and become more susceptible to catching the flu,” Terri says. Protect yourself and others around you by getting your vaccine before returning to the office.
Winc can provide organisations with all they need to help maintain a safe workplace, thanks to a team of expert health, hygiene, and safety (HHS) specialists. Speak with one of our HHS specialists for guidance on the best solutions for your organisation’s needs or browse our online selection.
12015., Forbes, ‘5 Gadgets With More Germs Than Your Toilet Seat’, <https://www.forbes.com/sites/reehines/2015/08/11/5-gadgets-with-more-germs-than-your-toilet-seat/?sh=6651f0e112fe>
22022., Winc Australia, ‘Health & Hygiene Report’, <https://winc.com.au/services/digital-resources/report-the-importance-of-hygiene-in-the-workplace-post-pandemic/>