• Office Depot urges workplaces to clean up act to avoid flu outbreak

        • Companies are being urged to ensure offices are prepared this winter, on the back of reports that GP consultations for flu-like illness were up by a quarter in the UK.

          With medical advice including the use of tissues to trap germs, washing hands often with warm water and soap and binning used tissues, Office Depot is warning UK businesses to ensure they are also prepared to prevent an outbreak within the office.

          A recent survey by Office Depot found that 83 per cent of people admit going to work despite having a cold, with 81 per cent believing they have picked up an illness from a work colleague. Heightening the risk of bacteria growing in the workplace, the survey of 500 UK office workers found that an astonishing 30 per cent of businesses fail to supply anti-bacterial handwash or soap.

          George Hand, Head of Cleaning, Hygiene and Catering at Office Depot said, “the recent news that flu-like illnesses are on the increase should be a concern for UK businesses. While children are one of the main causes of flu being spread, it leaves parents at risk of carrying the illness. As such, offices should ensure they have all of the right equipment in place to prevent the spread among colleagues.

          “Our research found that businesses can and should do more to prevent the potential spread of illnesses, including providing the right handwash and hand dryers. People are likely to continue working despite being unwell, as found in our research, and so office managers must ensure that best practice is undertaken where possible.”

          One of the main reasons employees may continue to go into work despite being unwell could be because they fear there is inadequate support and work will not be completed in their absence. Indeed, 88 per cent of respondents said that they would have to pick up at least some of their work following an absence, with 38 per cent believing they’d have to pick up all of their work upon their return.

          Each office has different considerations, and news of flu-like illnesses on the rise could prompt a knee-jerk reaction and purchasing unnecessary products at heightened prices. To avoid panic purchasing, businesses concerned about their own provision of cleaning and hygiene products can take advantage of a free cleaning and hygiene audit from Office Depot.

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