How to Avoid Getting All of Your Coworkers Sick This Winter

By Victoria Robertson on December 1, 2017

It’s that time of year again: everybody is getting sick. If we’re lucky, just before the holidays move in on us. However, there are still the unlucky few that will catch colds or pass on the flu right as the holidays hit.

So how do you stay healthy during this time? More often than not, it depends on your proximity to germs. For that reason, those of us that work in an office environment all too often find that when one person gets sick, so too does everyone else. It’s frustrating, but it’s the truth.

So how do you avoid getting sick? Or, better yet, when you are, how do you avoid passing it along to your coworkers?

via Pixabay

First and foremost, if you can stay home, do it. If you’re given this option, there’s no reason to go into the office to spread your illness to everyone else. Consider others’ situations and judge your own sickness appropriately. There are countless employees that feel they need to go into work when they’re sick, and sometimes, this is the case. However, if you have time off that you can take, use it.

The best way to avoid getting any of your coworkers sick is to simply not go in when you aren’t feeling well. This not only stops the transfer of germs, but also allows you to get better more quickly, which helps you get back to work quickly and avoid getting anyone else sick in the meantime.

That being said, staying home is not always an option. For some, sick days have already been used and there’s too much work to be done for them to stay home. In these situations, it’s very important that you’re aware of your situation and that you go out of your way to avoid getting anyone else sick.

For one thing, keep hand sanitizer at the ready. Before you go around touching handles or signing documents, use hand sanitizer to kill any germs that are just hanging around waiting to be spread. Obviously you don’t need to go overboard, but the more aware you are of your germs, the less likely you are to spread them around the entire office.

For another, make sure you’re getting plenty of rest. Ensuring that you’re getting over your sickness quickly is the best way to avoid spreading it, as it means there is less time that you’re exposing your coworkers to your illness. So have plenty of soup, taking the medicine you’re supposed to be taking and make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids and getting more than enough sleep.

The best thing you can do for your sickness is to get plenty of rest and take care of yourself, so make sure that you are your number one priority to avoid a prolonged sickness.

Don’t spend unnecessary amounts of time around people. When you’re stuck in a household with someone that’s sick, you’re much more likely to catch whatever they have. The same logic goes for a work environment. If you’re spending a lot of time with your coworkers while you’re sick, they’re much more likely to get sick themselves.

To avoid this prolonged amount of time with them, avoid spending unnecessary amounts of time in close proximity with them (i.e. gossiping in their office/cubes, eating lunch together, etc.). As sad as it may sound, spending more time on your own while you’re sick is a good way to avoid getting anyone else sick as well.

Another thing to consider is remote work. For instance, if you have a meeting, but it’s an option to call in, then take the call from your desk or from home to avoid going in and getting others sick. In addition, if you can spend the time working remotely, do it! Some positions allow remote work, so speak with your manager and let them know your situation and they may just let you work from home so that you’re better able to get over your illness and avoiding passing it along to others.

Finally, and this should be common sense, but avoid spreading germs in any way that you can. Have Kleenex at your desk, keep that hand sanitizer close and just use general, common courtesy when it comes to sneezing, coughing and touching things throughout the office.

It basically comes down to your awareness of your illness and your motivation to avoid spreading your sickness to others in the office. While you do have to put yourself first, consider others as well, especially this time of year, and do what you can to avoid making matters worse for someone else.

So practice some self-health this holiday season, ensure that you’re taking care of your own body and others will be taken care of as well. Trust me, everyone will appreciate your dedication to getting better!

Victoria is a dedicated writer who graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She currently writes freelance pieces for various sites and works in Marketing for Myndbee Inc., promoting their current mobile app, Picpal.

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