How to Prepare Your Workplace or Retail Space for Cold and Flu Season

It’s cold and flu season, yet again, and even though we’ve become accustomed to the protocols of COVID-19 defense: the hand washing, sanitizing at every entranceway, wiping of shopping carts, the shields, the masks — there are still ways, as small business owners, that you can ramp up your retail space, and help your customers feel a little bit safer.


According to Health Canada, cold and flu viruses can remain infectious on hard, nonporous surfaces such as stainless steel and plastic for several hours, so it’s important to ensure that high-touch objects and surfaces are cleaned and disinfected frequently. That means sanitizing work areas as well as places of contact with customers, such as cashier stations, counters, service areas and, of course, washrooms.


Setting up hygiene and sanitation stations — with kiosk, pedestal and tabletop options — in all spaces frequented by employees and customers can make it easier for employees to fight colds and flus.

According to Peter Watanabe, VP, Preferred Sales and Marketing at Staples Canada, it’s also wise to provide PPE along with hand sanitizing equipment. This makes it less likely that anyone will be caught maskless. Disposable masks that meet Health Canada guidelines and mask dispensers to make them readily available are helpful.


With the move towards indoor workspaces, and the opening of gathering places like gyms, shops and other venues, improved air quality is of paramount importance during this cold and flu season. To reduce indoor air pollutants and distribute cleaner air while fighting the spread of viruses, an air purifier equipped with HEPA filtration and an air-quality indicator is a proven precautionary measure.


When paired with best practices such as wearing a mask and social distancing, products like acrylic table dividers, privacy screens and mobile room dividers — all available through Staples Preferred — can provide an additional level of safety for employees. Physical distancing tools are especially important for companies that have adopted an open work concept or use shared spaces like boardrooms and meeting rooms.

Consider using Eddie's Vinyl "Mask Appreciated" Social Distancing Decals and Futech 11" Circular Safe Step Floor Decal Application For Social Distancing floor decals to help direct foot traffic and remind customers and employees alike that keeping some distance can keep them safe.


When appropriate to do temperature checks — part of an active screening protocol as set out by Ontario’s Ministry of Health — a quick response thermometer like the Berrcom JXB178 Non-Contact Infrared Thermometer is an economical choice for quick and accurate readings. Use this in addition to other active screening protocols, including instructing employees how to self-monitor for COVID-19, cold, or flu symptoms or having screeners at entrances to conduct active screenings of employees, visitors or customers.

Establishing procedures and making sure you have the right tools on hand to keep employees, visitors and customers safe can feel like a big undertaking but having an action plan is a great place to start.

Find out how Staples Preferred can help you source the cold and flu essentials you need (with exclusive pricing) to keep your workplace clean, safe and well.

By Staples Canada

November 10, 2021

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