Germs In The Office
Clean, Spotless and Shiny
Everyone feels, happy and productive in a fresh and healthy workplace. Cutting down on cross contamination could help with staff absences. A diligent hygiene regime that includes, hand washing, computer cleaning and sanitising, telephone and workstation wiping, as well as the use of dedicated sprays, will keep all your equipment and desk tops germ free, shiny, and squeaky clean.
Most office equipment is off-limits to cleaners. The sensitivity of computers to cleaning solutions means that they generally get left alone. If you use someone’s computer and then put your hand in your mouth without realizing it – you’re effectively eating dead skin.
Our desks may appear clean, but unless they’re disinfected regularly, they become a hotbed of germs. A recent study revealed the presence of around 400 times more bacteria on computer keyboards than there are on toilet seats. Yuck!
Here are a few tips to help keep your office germ free and healthy
Keep your hands clean
They may go on a bit, but it really is important to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly. Think of all the things you may touch on the way to work: your keys, phone or tablet, the bus, train, or car if you drive, buttons in the lift, and the newspaper. It could be good practice to give your hands a quick wash as soon as you arrive.
Also have a spruce up before you eat or drink – contaminated fingers near or in your mouth greatly increases the risk of transferring e-coli or salmonella. And of course, you won’t need reminding of the bathroom routine!
Careful what you touch
You’re touching and spreading millions of germs each day! Touching them is unavoidable but cleaning your hands to help eliminate them is not so difficult. It is estimated that telephone ear and mouthpieces carry up to 1,400 bacteria.
The average person touches 300 surfaces every 30 minutes, exposing themselves to 840,000 germs. Think of the common areas we all touch in the office without thinking, including surfaces in meeting rooms, the kitchen and other communal areas, doorknobs and doorframes, the photocopier or printer, as well as colleagues’ desks… phew!
In the world of viruses even a tonguey kiss is safer than shaking hands.
It’s unrealistic to pop out and washyour hands every few minutes, but a hand sanitiser can help minimise the risk of spreading germs if you can’t get to a sink. Keep a supply at your desk and other communal areas, as well as at reception, so that visitors can be encouraged clean their hands when they arrive.
Don’t eat at your desk
Food residue on your desktop makes this is an ideal breeding ground for germs, they will feast all day on leftover crumbs from desktop diners, and peak in number after lunch. This area effectively becomes a “bacteria cafeteria”.
Forget about gastroenteritis or food poisoning, getting away from your desk to eat may include other benefits, such as relaxation and mind clearing, allowing you to return in a more productive mood.
Coughs and sneezes spread diseases
We are all aware of this old adage, but it appears you’re far more likely to catch a cold from a contaminated surface. Germs and bugs can survive for up to 72 hours on a work top so it’s absolutely crucial to disinfect them regularly, especially if someone in the office has a cold, this can help reduce the spread by as much as 80%.
Take extra precautions if you’re ill
If you do succumb to a cold or catch flu, work from home if you can, or take sick leave. Your co-workers may moan but will ultimately thank you; also you will probably recover more quickly. If you have to go into work, use tissues to catch the drips from your nose as often as you can, wash your hands more, use an effective sanitiser after you’ve sneezed or coughed, and disinfect your desk, keyboard, mouse and phone before you leave.
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