How clean is your office? Most offices make sure the garbage cans are emptied, desktops are dusted, carpets have been vacuumed or swept and the lobby or reception desk is clear of clutter. But what hidden threats are lurking in your office?
While a tidy appearance is very important for positive first impressions and general employee morale, the hidden and overlooked health dangers lurking in employeesí personal workspaces could be increasing absence rates and costing your company in terms of lost productivity. While some contact with germs is unavoidable, most people just do not realize exactly how many germs can hide in their workplace environment. Your office may seem clean on the surface, but germs often hide in unexpected places. Germs are the unseen but that does not mean they are not harmful. Illnesses like the flu are airborne and quite contagious, often living on surfaces for two hours or more and can spread when people touch the infected surfaces and then touch their mouth, nose or eyes. This quick contamination can result in one sick employee infecting several others. Here are just a few of the spaces your employees should be aware of and clean regularly with a disinfecting wipe in order to avoid illness and absenteeism:
The average desk is a prime breeding ground for illness causing germs. Millions of Americans spend their days at a desk, using their telephones, keyboards and computer mice where more than 10 million bacteria can be getting quite comfortable. Statistically, your desk is probably dirtier than the office toilet! Hard to believe, but it’s true. The average keyboard alone most likely harbors about 16 million microbes! Think about how often you…
- Eat at your desk
- Touch your desk after touching other potentially germ-infested items
- Clean your desk (including your keyboard and mouse)
It is a good idea to wipe your desk and desktop items down every day with a disinfecting wipe and to schedule a deeper cleaning at least once a week.
Phones are even worse than desks. We all know that cellphones can get extremely dirty, but it turns out your office phone has the same problem. Workplace phones are germ hubs since they come in such close contact with your mouth. Germs are quickly transferred onto the surface where they can infect another user. Most office phones rarely ever get cleaned, even though we touch them numerous times per day. Next time you wipe down your desk, be sure to give your entire phone a nice wipedown. Do not forget the handset and buttons in addition to the mouthpiece.
Keyboards are notorious repositories for food debris and germs. The best way to clean this germ trap is to unplug it, tap it gently to remove any food particles, then wipe with an appropriate cleaner.
Most people do not consider the arms of their chairs when thinking of germy areas around the office, but your hands touch these surfaces countless times per. When wiping their desktops, employees should be encouraged to pay attention to the arms of their chairs as well.
When mugs are not thoroughly washed after every use, those bacteria can get passed on from person to person. It is safest to bring your own designated mug and wash it every time you use it.
COPY MACHINE AND OTHER SHARED ITEMS
A communal copy machine may be one of the best places to share germs with everyone in your office. Keeping hand sanitizer by the copy machine can help to slow down the spread of germs. If this is not an option, employees should get into the habit of washing their hands after each use.
How to Kill Office Germs Effectively
You may be feeling a little grossed out at this point. However, the situation is not quite as doom and gloom as you may be thinking it is right now. Remember that it is next to impossible to avoid 100% of germs, but good sanitary practices at work are possible and very helpful. Here are a few tips for decreasing germs in the office:
- Wash your hands often, especially after using the restroom, after using communal items and spaces. Also, wash hands thoroughly before and after eating and every time you cough, sneeze, or blow your nose.
- Keep hand sanitizer on your desk for those times you are not able to wash your hands.
- Wipe down surfaces daily with disinfecting wipes.
- Bring your own water bottle and mugs and wash them regularly.
- Stay home from work if you are sick.
- Avoid stair and escalator handrails if possible or wash hands after touching these surfaces.
Want to learn more about the ways we help customers avoid lost productivity due to illness? We would be happy to walk through your facility and point out the areas that might be getting missed by your current maintenance team.