While you and your employees may have an infectious enthusiasm for work, during the cold and flu season that's not the only thing your team can pass around the office.
Seasonal flu activity commonly begins in October and peaks sometime in January or February, potentially lasting through May, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These illnesses can especially wreak havoc on small staffs, which potentially find it difficult to recover from even a few days of lost productivity.
Beyond advising your staff on the importance of general office hygiene, there are a number of "touchless" office gadgets you can use to help ward off germs. Here, we've review three that you might consider trying.
SimpleHuman Sensor Can
What is it?: This no-touch brushed steel trash can from California-based SimpleHuman uses a built-in sensor to open the lid whenever a user's hand is above it. Once the lid opens, the sensor uses "multi-sense" technology to determine how long it stays open while you throw your trash away.
The trash cans are powered by six C-size batteries which SimpleHuman says should last about a year. Models start at about $200 for a 40-liter trash can and about $250 for a 48-liter trash can.
What you might like: The Sensor Can is reasonably quiet and wasn't accidentally triggered at random. We found it was accurate in knowing how long it should stay open based on how much trash you're disposing.
What you might not like: At $200, the Sensor Can might be significant expense on a garbage can, especially in an office mostly disposes paper products. It would be most suitable in a break room or restroom where traffic can justify the cost.
enMotion Impulse 8 Automated Paper Towel Dispenser
What is it?: At a little more than 13 inches by 13 inches (and nine-and-a-half inches deep), the enMotion Impulse is the most compact model in Georgia-Pacific's line of automated paper towel dispensers. The device features several adjustable settings including sheet length and the amount of time delay between sheets. It runs on three D-size batteries, which Georgia-Pacific says should last for about 60 rolls of paper.
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The enMotion can be purchased from various office supply vendors online, usually for between $80 and $100.
What you might like: Given its compact size, the enMotion is ideal for small spaces such as a one-person employee restroom or a small break room. Setup is easy for anyone familiar with using a power drill to install it on a wall.
What you might not like: There aren't many negatives. This is a significant upgrade for any business that's using old-fashioned paper towel dispensers.
Kimberly Clark Sanitizer Floor Stand
What is it?: This is a battery-powered, automatic hand sanitizer dispenser on a floor stand that can be placed anywhere in the office. Users put their hand underneath the dispenser and the germ-killing sanitizer is dispensed.
The electronic cassette uses three D-size batteries for about 60,000 "squirts" of sanitizer.
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What you might like: We found the sanitizer floor stand suitable for high-traffic areas as a handy reminder to keep one's hands clean. It's especially useful for the reception area or other spaces where your employees interact with the public.
What you might not like: The individual components -- sanitizer, sanitizer cassette and floor stand, which add up to about $165 -- must be purchased separately. If you have a larger staff and employees use the sanitizer frequently, it can run out faster than you think.