By Mechele Mills 
As temperatures continue to drop, cold and flu season will be upon us before you know it. The close quarters of the many office allow for an environment where coworkers can easily spread germs. 
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) advises that the best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get a yearly flu vaccine, however, there are also other measures which can be used to fight it. BBB recommends that business owners take a few simple steps to prevent illnesses from spreading and foster a successful, healthy work environment. 
In order to stay productive and profitable, it’s important to minimize absenteeism It’s important to remember, however, that maintaining a happier, healthier, and productive workplace also includes educating employees about when it is appropriate to stay home so that they don’t spread germs to others. 
BBB recommends taking the following steps to protect employees during cold and flu season: 
Build up an arsenal to fight germs. Kleenex, hand sanitizer, and products for cleaning work spaces are three basic purchases employers can make for fighting germs around the office. Also consider investing in  
no-touch trashcans. 
Promote good hygiene around the office. Remind everyone of the importance of hand washing and covering their mouths if they sneeze or cough. Encourage employees to regularly clean shared equipment such as phones and computers and wipe down common areas. Post friendly reminders around the workplace in languages that all employees can  
easily understand. 
Make prevention convenient. We are busier than ever. Many local hospitals and pharmacies may offer to come to your office to provide on-site flu shots. 
Encourage people to stay home. Sick employees may think they’re being dedicated workers when they still come into work but, the truth is, they spread germs to other employees and cut down on the overall productivity of the business. Encourage employees to stay home when they are sick at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever or severe symptoms. Consider instituting a flexible leave policy—and appropriate technology—that allows employees to work from home if they or their kids are sick. 
Set a good example. Now that you’ve asked everyone to wash their hands regularly and stay home if they’re sick, it’s important as the business owner that you follow your own advice. When you’re the boss it can seem like an impossible task to take a sick day, but stay home and keep your germs out of the  
work place.