Certainly a cleaner work environment helps productivity and employee well--being, but the notion that surface cleanliness on workstations and in break-rooms are the only sanitary issue leaves other office health concerns in the dark. With little change to annual illnesses, research studies suggest we may be overlooking something more influential, and far more unavoidable - the air we breathe.
Airborne Viruses and Bacteria and Their Cost to the Workplace
Bacteria and viruses can travel through the air, causing diseases and worsening allergies or asthma(3). Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk(4). Five to twenty percent of the US population becomes ill from the influenza virus each year(1). For the workplace, that translates into over $220 billion every year that sick employees cost our economy from lost productivity(2).
The Air Filtration Solution
High-efficiency particulate absorption (True HEPA) filters have been clinically proven to be effective at reducing the concentration of airborne germs and allergens. Hospitals, clinics, airlines, and many other industries recognize the necessity to purify air and utilize True HEPA filtration technology to maintain the highest standards of indoor air quality. Using air purifiers designed for workplace environments like the Fellowes® AeraMax Air Purifiers can help minimize airborne germs in the office. AeraMax Air Purifiers are equipped with a True HEPA Filter that safely captures 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns, including pollen, ragweed and other allergens, viruses, germs, dust mites and mold spores. AeraMax is also extremely effective at removing influenza and cold viruses from indoor air(5).
Workplace air purifiers can also be helpful for removing odors without having to use harsh chemicals like commercial cleaners or air fresheners, which only mask odors with synthetic fragrances. Air purifiers like AeraMax have a carbon filter that effectively captures odors from the air without the need for chemicals.
Simply by adding the initiative of office air purification to regular workplace sanitation, you can help minimize germs and increase well-being and productivity.
1 "Seasonal Flu" Flu.gov http://www.flu.gov/about_the_flu/seasonal/index.html#
2 "Actions to Improve IAQ." United States Environmental Protection Agency. Last modified April 5, 2012. http://www.epa.gov/iaq/schools/actions_to_improve_iaq.html.
3 "Bacteria and Viruses" American Lung Association http://www.lung.org/healthyair/home/resources/bacteria-and-viruses.html
4 "How Flu Spreads" Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/spread.htm
5 Based on independent testing
It's that time of year again, Pantone has announced it's color of the year - Radiant Orchid. Described as a "captivating, magical, enigmatic purple" it's sure to make a statement in your home and office.
This is a bold color - but a pillow or rug in your office or on your couch will have you thinking about spring. Let's kick out winter with a little drama.
In three short days, the 2014 Olympics will come to an end. I don't know about you, but I am amazed with the athletes. They make it all look so easy. But we all know that it has taken them years of practice, lessons and patience to get to Sochi. Watch our twist on the magic of our office Olympics.
Tired of rooting through your desk drawers to find that old business card or a decent working pen? If your desk drawers look more like junk drawers overflowing with sticky notes, hand sanitizers, ketchup packets, and tangles of paperclips, it's time to get organized. Orderly drawers make it easy to find exactly what you need when you need it, making the day run smoother. Best of all it takes just a few simple steps to de-clutter.
Step One: Empty
What You Need: Cleaning Solution, Paper Towels, Drawer Liners
Remove the entire contents of each drawer one at a time onto your desktop, table or floor. Every random staple, crumpled shred of paper and file must come out. This is the only way you can see exactly what's in there and assess how much the drawer can hold. Now clean them completely with cleaning spray and a towel. Replace ripped drawer liners with nonslip liners to keep items in place once finished.
Step Two: Purge
What You Need: Trash Can, Storage Containers
Now's the time to be ruthless. Toss anything that doesn't work like dried up markers and pens. Can't bear to part with some things? Put them in storage containers and stash on a high shelf or closet for later use. If after six months you haven't used them, toss, recycle or donate.
Step Three: Plan
What You Need: A Small Box
There's no "one right" way to organize, so first plan your drawers based on how you use them. Keep items you need regular, quick access within close reach, typically your top desk drawer. To help determine what those items are, empty the drawer and place the contents in a small box. When you need an item, remove it from the box and place it in your top desk drawer. At the end of the week review the items placed in the drawer and organize them in a way that works best for you.
Sort through the items that remain in the box and store in a lower drawer those things you still need but use infrequently. Toss, recycle, or pass along to a co-worker any leftovers.
Step Four: Organize
What You Need: Drawer Organizers of Various Sizes
Once you've got your plan in mind, now you can make the arrangement permanent and neat. Choose drawer trays, organizers, and small boxes in various sizes so you can change up the configuration as your needs change. Twist OP specializes in offering an enormous variety of organization tools for your drawers. With lots of colors, shape and sizes to choose from, you're sure to find just the thing that strikes your fancy.
The more appealing your drawers, the more likely you'll be able to maintain them and you can find what you need at a glance. A little time spent today means a less stressful day tomorrow. Organize now!
Valentine's day is one of the most romantic days of the year and it's tomorrow. Did you forget to make reservations? If you did, you probably have two options for tomorrow - 5 or 9 p.m. Don't despair - plan a romantic night at home and if you feel like it, you can even get dressed up for it. Plan on stopping at the grocery store tonight and pick up something extra special. I'm making scallops and spinach. Super easy and super special. After that, maybe movie night at home. Here's the recipe:
Remove scallops and keep warm.
Add shallots and stir; add wine to deglaze the pan, scraping bits from the bottom, then add spinach. Cook for 2 minutes, until wilted. Add lemon juice.
Divide spinach among four plates and top with warm scallops.
And Twist's Top Ten Top Valentine's Day Movie Picks:
Friday is Valentine's Day and we have an easy DIY project to attach a photo or keepsake to a handwritten valentine. And the best part of it: all you need is a paper clip and three easy steps.
1. Start with the paper clip in this direction:
2. Bend middle of clip and push left-hand side upward.
3. Clip bottom tip over papers or pictures. Darling!
Think you're a gold medalist in Olympic trivia? Here's your chance to find out. The Games began Yesterday in Sochi, Russia, and you probably should have these rules down so you can brag to your friends/win office bets/sleep better at night. Just sayin'.
The heavy snow and in some places ice on top of snow can cause power outages. Here are some tips to help you survive and stay safe if you lose electricity:
. Include power outages in your family disaster plan. Know where to meet ahead of time because cell phones don't always work during an outage. Freaky, but true.
. Cash - make sure you have more than seven dollars in your wallet. Some restaurants may be open but it could be cash only. Seven dollars does not buy lunch for three people. Weird but true - some banks may not be open. Keep a hidden twenty or fifty dollar bill in your wallet so everyone can eat.
. Gas - make sure you have some. Gas stations rely on electricity to power the pumps. True fact - during a ice/snow event people will be lined up at the pumps like they did in the 70's. Very eerie.
. Turn off all light switches but one. Don't make it the one in your bedroom, unless you want to be woken at 4 a.m. when the power does turn back on.
. Flashlights need batteries. Enough said.
. Don't run a generator inside a home or garage (if you are lucky enough to have one). Use gas-powered generators outside only.
. Keep your phones and other essential electronic devises charged at all times. Do you know how long it takes to charge a cell phone in a car? A long time, trust me.
So, there you have it. A few thoughts to help you survive this crazy winter. And for me, a few glasses of a lovey wine from Tuscany helped me sleep through the night in a house with no electricity, water or heat. How many days till Spring?
It is a cold January evening in Iowa as I begin to write this post and my mind keeps wandering to my upcoming vacation. My best friend is getting married at Disney World and I will be out of the office for a full week. I noticed a couple of hours ago that I am quite calm. This is a little troubling to me because it is quite different from the frantic way I usually get everything accomplished in the three days before going on vacation. So this begs the question, “what is different this time?”
Upon reflecting, I have identified what I believe are the three contributing factors to my Zen-like state. Try using these tactics next time you plan to leave the office for a planned extended period of time:
Advance warning: My first step in preparing to be gone actually started several weeks ago. This is when I blocked off my calendar, built my upcoming absence into project timelines, and began mentioning the dates I would be unavailable to the people I work with the most. This advance communication has enabled everyone to plan accordingly.
Leave instructions: My mom is a retired English teacher and I remember her writing copious notes for her substitute each time she had a planned absence. While this may seem like a lot of work upfront, it lessened the chance that she was going to return to chaos. I believe that we can be too focused on what must get done before leaving on vacation and not give enough thought to what is going to happen while we are gone. This is why I have a project status sheet completed that gives a brief overview and also outlines the next steps. I have also have scheduled a meeting on Friday to review this with my team and my manager. This way, projects can keep moving and I will hopefully have fewer urgent requests when I return.
Remind Yourself that Vacations Help You Rest: One of my good friends has two-year-old triplets and he always struggles with taking time for himself. He explained that he and his wife work through this by reminding each other that they are better parents after occasionally taking time for themselves. I am not saying that being away from your family is the same as being away from work, but I do believe that the same concept can apply. I know that I will come back from vacation refreshed and energized to jump back into my work.
I hope that you can use these tips before your next vacation to prepare yourself for a relaxing time. And since I know you’ve been wondering . . . No, Mickey Mouse will not be attending my friend’s wedding, but we will meet him at a character brunch the next morning.
How do you set yourself up for a worry-free vacation? And after this winter, brunch with Mickey sounds divine.
By Allison Anders, Marketing Manager - Hon
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