Beating Back Germs in Your Office
By Angela Sanders Wednesday, December 04, 2013, 11:36 PM EST
As you grind away at your nine to five job, it’s difficult to think about the thousands upon thousands of bacteria that are festering on every unclean surface in your office. But, with washroom services company Initial finding that around 40 per cent of office desks tested hold at least one item harbouring high levels of bacteria, it might just be time to initiate a hygiene kick in your workplace.
Bacteria such as E. coli, the faecal germ that causes heavy bouts of gastrointestinal infection, are easily avoided, with the spread generally tempered by a practice as simple as washing your hands.
It’s amazing to think that of all the germs that float around our desks, we’re still not particularly hygienic individuals, with many offices still suffering from regular staff absences due to poor hygiene. But, somehow it’s true, and the only real way to resolve the danger of illness in your workplace is to maintain a regular hygiene programme that every member of staff participates in.
Here are just a few hygiene tips to make your office cleaner, healthier and safer.
Make sure everyone washes their hands
It may seem like an obvious suggestion, but washing your hands after meals and bathroom use is a massive oversight by many office workers, with a fifth of Brits admitting to never practicing good hand hygiene after using the bathroom. And, while many do wash their hands, very few of us do so effectively enough for it to make much difference.
So, what is an effective way to rinse those digits?
Well, make sure to use hot water and anti-bacterial soap, and rinse your hands for at least twenty seconds, making sure to scrub under your fingernails to exterminate those harder-to-reach germs.
After this, ensure that you dry your hands thoroughly, as germs easily multiply when subjected to moisture. This way, bacteria will be effectively eradicated before you leave the bathroom, stopping them from spreading through to your office and infecting yourself and your co-workers.
Clean your office equipment regularly and thoroughly
Imagine it – the crumbs, dirt and grime that builds up under your keyboard; your sweaty fingers banging away on the keys, picking up more and more bacteria with every button press and mouse click. That’s not to mention every other appliance that’s thoroughly contaminated around you.
And, while a cleaner will come in to wipe down your table and hoover your floors, electrical goods such as your keyboard or mouse will realistically only be given a periphery clean lest their electronics be damaged.
But, without a regular cleaning of your office appliances the likelihood of germs spreading is great, so get everyone to ensure that their goods are kept to the highest standards of cleanliness.
Don’t eat at your desk
In the mad dash of a day at the office, it can be easy to want to catch up with your workload during your lunch break, chowing down on your falafel wrap or chicken sandwich whilst huddled over your computer.
But, in another finding from Initial, it has been proven that office workers eating at their desks can dramatically decrease the hygiene of a workstation.
So, go to the lunch room or canteen during your break. It might even create a friendlier atmosphere in your workplace if everyone socialises around a table at lunch, making your office more hygienic and more genial in one fell swoop.