How to Prepare Your Office for Cold and Flu Season

December 1, 2021

Author: Staples Professional Inc.

These days, most individuals are comfortable following COVID-19-related protocols at home and in public spaces. But with many now returning to office work, it’s essential for businesses to focus on system-wide, facilities-led health and safety measures — especially during the upcoming cold and flu season.

As a facilities manager, here’s what you can do to ensure a safer and healthier return to work for all.

Clean more frequently

According to Health Canada, cold and flu viruses can remain infectious on hard, nonporous surfaces such as stainless steel and plastic for several hours, so it’s important to ensure that high-touch objects and surfaces are more frequently cleaned and disinfected by sanitation workers. “As we deal with the pandemic, frequency of cleaning should be increased,” says Chris Robertson, Sales Manager, Facility Solutions at Staples Professional. “[And] it’s important to note that surfaces must be cleaned of all residual soil load before they can be properly disinfected.”

A bonus of more frequent cleaning and disinfection? It offers an added layer of protection against cold and flus as well as COVID-19 — a win-win for workplaces.

Provide the basics

Make it easier for employees to stave off colds and flus by supplying hygiene and sanitation stations throughout the office with kiosk, pedestal and tabletop options. “Health Canada recommends putting sanitizing hand dispensers in prominent places around the workplace and enabling DIY cleaning through products like hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes,” says Robyn Tampas, Marketing Manager at ACCO, the parent company of brands Hilroy and Quartet® who currently produce COVID-19 work solutions such as sneeze guards, privacy screens and hand sanitizer.

According to Chris Gassi, Sales Manager, Facility Solutions at Staples Professional, it’s also wise to provide PPE along with hand sanitizing equipment. Disposable masks that meet Health Canada guidelines and mask dispensers to make them readily available are helpful.

Invest in air purifiers

With the move back to indoor office spaces, improved air quality is of paramount importance. To reduce indoor air pollutants and distribute cleaner air while fighting the spread of cold, flu and COVID-19 viruses, invest in air purifiers equipped with HEPA filtration and an air-quality indicator. Tampas recommends purchasing a model such as the 360-degree DuPont™ HEPA filtration in TruSens that captures airborne viruses, allergens and certain VOC gases, and reduces germs and bacteria with ultraviolet light. “TruSens™ offers five different models with features to address different needs and room sizes,” says Tampas.

Facilitate physical distancing

When paired with best practices such as wearing a mask and social distancing, products like acrylic table dividers, privacy screens and mobile room dividers can provide an additional level of safety for employees.

“Physical distancing tools are especially important for companies that have adopted an open work concept or use shared spaces like boardrooms and meeting rooms,” notes Tampas. “ACCO’s 4’x 6’ Mobile Room Divider sits on wheels for easy transportation from hallways to work areas. And the 24” x 30” Acrylic Table Divider/Sneeze Guard is perfect for desktop use and creates a barrier between workstations, in meeting rooms or reception areas.” Staples Professional experts can provide recommendations on the products best suited for your space and needs.

Establishing procedures and procuring the right products to keep employees safe can feel like a big undertaking but having an action plan is a great place to start. Staples Professional is with you every step of the way with expert advice.

Find out how Staples Professional can help you prepare your workplace for the cold and flu season. Our GBAC-trained technicians (Global Bio-risk Advisory Council) will work with you to help ensure the safety of employees and customers. Book a free consultation with our experts.

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