tissuesIt’s that time of year again! Not only are we smack in the middle of winter, we’re stuck in the midst of flu season, too.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Organization, it’s widespread in 35 states. Lovely.

Well, there are a few ways to at least thwart it from spreading in your office. Per OSHA, here are some recommendations.

1. Provide a work environment that promotes personal hygiene. This means providing tissues, hand soap, hand sanitizer, you get the idea. Plus, employees should get into the habit of cleaning their work surfaces often.

2. Encourage employees to obtain a seasonal influenza vaccine. Your office may have already conducted a flu vaccination day or two but the key for organizations to run this well is to ensure internal communication vehicles spread the word.

3. Develop policies to minimize contacts between employees. Now, this seems a bit vague to us but perhaps in the middle of flu season it would be more effective to hold a conference call if someone on the team is sick than have a team assemble for the sake of having a face-to-face meeting.

4. Encourage employees to stay home. Have you ever felt sick to the point you knew you should just stay home to make not only your life easier but your colleagues’ lives, too? Don’t be a martyr.

Take a sick day — that’s what they’re meant for. And instead of dragging yourself to the office that day, acknowledge that you’re not going to be productive anyway. Plus, you’ll spare your team from getting your germs. That’s the least you would expect from them if they felt sick and were on the fence about coming into the office.

Think about yourself and others. Most of all, get well soon.