6 Ways to Stay Healthy When Everyone at Work Is Sick
It all starts with a cough—from your boss, your work wife, or the person one cubicle over. The workplace can feel like a bona fide cesspool, especially when stubborn colleagues refuse to stay home. It’s worth going the extra mile to protect yourself from getting sick this season. Here, small steps you can take—besides hiding out in a sterile bubble.
Clean Your Desk and Hands
How did anyone survive flu season before disinfectant wipes? Trick out your workspace with germ-killing wipes and stock up on hand sanitizer. At least once a week—or at the end of each day, if you sit near patient zero—wipe down your desk, keyboard, and phone. If you can’t run to the bathroom sink, slather on hand sanitizer after you have a meeting or have shaken hands.
Move Your Seat
No one wants to be late for a meeting—but it’s fine to be a straggler every once in a while. That way, you can quickly see where the sick people in your office are sitting and take a seat on the other side of the conference table. If all the seats are taken, no worries: Just stand along the side of the room. The farther away you are from any sneezes and coughs, the better.
Sidestep Germy Areas
Doorknobs, refrigerator handles, communal sponges—oh my! Give in to the paranoia: Wash your hands after touching any communal hotspots, like the microwave keypad and fridge drawers, and use the paper towel with which you just dried your (clean) hands to open the bathroom doorknob. It might seem over-the-top—but it’s better than getting the flu.
Work From Home
If a nasty infection has taken down your team members—and you think you feel a sniffle coming on—take your laptop home and set up office on your kitchen table. You may find yourself a lot more productive when you’re not dodging sick coworkers.
Suggest Others Do the Same
If you manage a team, encourage them to work from home if they’re feeling a tickle in their throat (and set a good example by doing so yourself). Provide resources to make it easy, like ordering extra laptop chargers and setting everyone up with conference call lines they can use from anywhere.
Woke up with a cough and stuffy nose despite your best efforts? It happens to the best of us. To speed up your recovery (or make it a little less miserable), call in sick and then spend the remainder of your day resting and getting plenty of fluids. To treat your symptoms, you can also try a multitasking cold medicine like Robitussin Maximum Strength Severe Multi-Symptom Cough, Cold, + Flu (which relieves coughing, nasal congestion, and chest congestion), turn on that show you’ve been meaning to binge watch, and break out the hot tea.
Get more great health and wellness stories at MarthaStewart.com/Strive.