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Beat These 5 Office Based Illnesses By Solving the Root Causes

Updated: May 24

Office buildings, often bustling with activity, can unfortunately be breeding grounds for various illnesses. The close proximity of employees, shared facilities, and inadequate ventilation can contribute to the spread of infections, including colds, flu, and even more severe respiratory conditions. Poor indoor air quality, coupled with high-stress levels, can further weaken immune systems, making individuals more susceptible to illness. Therefore, maintaining a healthy office environment is crucial for the well-being and productivity of employees.

What is Office Sickness?

Office sickness, also known as Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), refers to a situation where occupants of a building experience acute health issues and discomfort that seem to be linked to time spent in the building.

Symptoms of office sickness can include headaches, dizziness, nausea, irritation of the eyes, nose, or throat, dry or itchy skin, difficulty concentrating, and fatigue. These symptoms are often alleviated once the affected individuals leave the building.

Factors contributing to office sickness include poor indoor air quality, inadequate ventilation, exposure to pollutants such as mold, chemicals from office equipment, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from furnishings and cleaning agents.

Top 5 Most Common Office Illnesses and Their Causes

Here are the top 5 most common office illnesses and their causes:

  1. Common Cold and Flu:

  • Cause: Viruses such as rhinoviruses and influenza viruses spread easily in close-contact environments like offices through respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes, or by touching contaminated surfaces.

  1. Allergies:

  • Cause: Allergens such as dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, and pollen that can accumulate in poorly ventilated office spaces. Also, office plants and certain cleaning products can trigger allergic reactions.

  1. Respiratory Infections:

  • Cause: Bacteria and viruses can spread through the air and on shared surfaces, leading to infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia, particularly in environments with poor air quality or inadequate hygiene practices.

  1. Gastrointestinal Illnesses:

  • Cause: Contaminated food or surfaces, poor personal hygiene, and inadequate sanitation in office kitchens or restrooms can lead to the spread of viruses and bacteria causing stomach flu or food poisoning.

  1. Stress-Related Illnesses:

  • Cause: High workloads, tight deadlines, poor work-life balance, and a stressful work environment can contribute to physical symptoms like headaches, high blood pressure, and mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

Preventive measures like maintaining good hygiene, ensuring proper ventilation, and promoting a healthy work-life balance can help mitigate these common office illnesses.

How Can I Help Keep My Office Healthy and Disease-Free?

To help keep your office healthy and disease-free, follow these five steps:

🧼 Practice Good Hygiene

Encourage regular handwashing, provide hand sanitizers, and ensure that surfaces like desks, keyboards, and phones are frequently disinfected.

🌬️ Improve Ventilation

Ensure proper air circulation by using air purifiers, maintaining HVAC systems, and opening windows when possible to reduce the concentration of indoor pollutants.

🥗 Promote Healthy Habits

Offer access to healthy snacks, encourage regular breaks, and organize wellness programs that focus on physical and mental health.

🤧 Implement Sick Policies

Encourage employees to stay home when they are feeling unwell and provide flexible sick leave policies to prevent the spread of illnesses in the office.

🧽 Maintain Cleanliness

Keep the office clean by regularly disinfecting common areas, ensuring restrooms are stocked with necessary supplies, and providing cleaning wipes for personal workspaces.


By implementing these strategies, you can create a healthier and more productive work environment. Prioritizing hygiene, ventilation, healthy habits, flexible sick policies, and cleanliness will significantly reduce the spread of illnesses. A healthy office is not only beneficial for employee well-being but also enhances overall organizational performance.


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