Preventing Tropical Cold & Flu Viruses in the Workplace — Colder climates are not the only environments where the cold and flu virus can flourish. Equatorial regions like Bali experience not only year-round transmission but also distinct one-time annual epidemics or spikes twice a year.
In our tropical corner of the world influenza epidemics typically correlate with the rainy season, when ambient humidity is highest with work places the centers of outbreaks.
Cold and flu in the workplace, perhaps especially Bali hotels and tourism businesses with large staff numbers, require management to be especially vigilant to ensure all staff understand that prevention is the best cure.
BIMC recommends these straight forward strategies in the workplace to keep your businesses productive:
- Be informed in order to enlighten and educate your staff of the potential dangers of flu and colds prior to an outbreak. Managers should consider updating employees about the upcoming flu season through employee email blasts and posters in break rooms or lunch-and-learn meetings. These communications can serve as an efficient and easy way for leadership to share helpful tips with staff, particularly around workplace hygiene.
- Ask employees to stay at home when they are sick. So when should they call into work ill? When they develop symptoms including fever, chills, fatigue, muscle pain, headache and accompanying cough it may be time for bed rest (or time on the couch with the remote). And certainly one should make an appointment and let your BIMC doctor look you over.
- Promote Healthy Living: Staying fit and healthy helps keep our immune systems in good order to stave off flu, colds and other germs. Promote the importance of eating right and getting plenty of nutrients to help boost immune systems in the workplace. Ask your HR manager to leave fresh fruit in the office or hotel staff rooms.
- Stress the importance of getting plenty of sleep and exercise to help stay fit and healthy during the Bali monsoon season. Be a good example; Whatever you advise staff to do, you should do yourself, to help avoid coming down with the flu or coughs and colds next rainy season.
- Keep work spaces clean because human flu viruses can survive on surfaces for two to eight hours. Ensure your work spaces have adequate cleaning supplies and read the label to make sure it states that the product is effective against flu viruses, such as Influenza A.
- Encourage proper hand hygiene. Hand sanitizers are very effective and no better place than on the wall right near those health alert posters.
- Depending on the type of business and position of your staff, allow employees to work remotely. If an employee is well enough to work, but still contagious, make it clear that he or she should stay home and work remotely.
- Validate the cleaning process to know that proper cleaning and disinfecting is being truly performed. A program that monitors such processes ensures businesses such as hotels achieve the highest level of clean and guest satisfaction. Properties can implement mobile and easy-to-use auditing platforms to identify cleaning performance and trends. Timely notification of patterns can mean the difference between defeating and falling victim to an outbreak.