I just got over a cold. It didn’t last long—but it lasted long enough to disrupt my work and play for a couple of days. I never get sick, so I wondered how on earth I got this summer cold. Then I remembered being in Starbucks where a woman was hacking and didn’t have the courtesy to cover her mouth.

As it turns out, she wasn’t alone. About 25 percent of people don’t cover their mouth at all, according to a new swine flu study out of New Zealand. And most people who do try to cover up use their hands to stifle a cough or sneeze instead of a tissue or sneezing into their elbow. (Health officials recommend both alternatives as more sanitary than sneezing into your hand.) Those coughing sneezers then proceed to touch doorknobs, furniture and other things and spread the infection.

Although a virtual office won’t guarantee you don’t catch the common cold, it can certainly reduce your risk by isolating you from an office environment where colds and flues pass from person to person. By working from your home office and using virtual office technologies, you can even continue working through your cold without worrying about passing it along to anyone else or having to take a sick day.

If you rent a virtual office in San Jose, for example, you will get a prime business address, mail and package receipt, access to a business support center, a lobby greeter and much more from just $100 a month. Think about it for a minute, how much productivity do you lose when you get sick? And it’s not just about the money, it’s about the quality of life.

I am not a germ-o-phobe by any means. But given the opportunity to work from a virtual office during cold and flu season or expose myself to a staff of office workers that fails to cover up when they cough or sneeze isn’t much of a choice. Companies should have virtual office technologies in place that encourage employees who are suffering from a cold of flu to work from home instead of coming into the office and hindering the productivity of the entire staff.

Watch this video to see how far these germs actually spread.