Germs lurk on every surface in the office. The average person spends more than 8 hours per day in an office environment, often working in close proximity with others. Offices are a prime source of germs and illness.
How can we reduce the potential spread of germs in the workplace?
- Clean your gadgets. Keep a handy pack of anti-bacterial wipes by your desk and clean your keyboard every day. Find a product which professes to “kill 99.9 percent of germs and bacteria”. Don’t forget to wipe down the copy machine, fax machine, coffee pot and door handles to help rid them of germs.
- Choose where to sneeze. Pick your elbow or a tissue to sneeze or cough into. By avoiding your hands, you are minimising the potential of spreading germs and being a larger surface area, your elbow may absorb more germs than your hands.
- Keep your hands clean. This might seem obvious but washing your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds will help to remove germs. Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in your desk drawer and if you notice someone sneezing or coughing, offer them the sanitizer as soon as they are finished. Make sure you wash your hands after using the photo copier, imagine how many people are using it on a daily basis!
- Avoid sharing. Many people chew their pen absent-mindedly; keep your writing stash private and offer a colleague or client a different writing utensil, one that you do not use regularly. Where possible, avoid sharing your telephone or keyboard with colleagues too.
- Wipe down your desk. Research has shown that women spend more time at their desk than men. Lunch, magazines, photographs, chocolate, plants or candles are all commonly found on a woman’s desk. They are a breeding ground for bacteria, particularly if you eat at your desk. Clean it daily with disinfecting wipes or a disinfecting spray cleaner.
- Stay home if you are ill. This piece of advice may not go down well with your boss but not only do you minimise the risk of passing on your flu or throat infection to colleagues, you will make a much speedier recovery and be back into the workplace giving 100% to your job.
- Thorough clean. Ask your cleaning company to do a monthly antibacterial clean of all potentially hazardous areas, especially the office fridge and door handles!
Keeping it Kleen, a company dedicated to informing people regarding food safety, hygiene and sanitation, has produced the following infographic, which you may find an alarming read. Did you know that keyboards have about 60 times more germs than a toilet seat?