Workplace and office hygiene has been heavily highlighted since the recent pandemic. What are the best ways to tackle the germ hotspots in your workplace, to help keep your staff safe?
The office is a hub of activity; buzzing with energy from your people getting through their daily workload. While there’s so much going on, maintaining a clean office space may take a backseat. Keeping on top of sanitisation can make your workplace a cleaner, safer space at all times.
Germs and bacteria can build up and spread if you don’t keep up regular cleaning in your working areas, leaving you and your team at risk of illness such as the COVID-19 virus which spreads quickly and easily. Your workplace may appear clean, but there are a number of hotspots that can harbour bacteria and viruses leading to illnesses.
It isn’t always the obvious places such as kitchens and bathrooms which allow germs to thrive.
So where are these hidden breeding grounds and what can you do to manage them?
Shockingly, the average desk houses more than 400 times the amount of bacteria than the average toilet seat, highlighting how important it is to keep your office desk and workplace clean.
It’s not just a dirty office desk that’s putting you at risk either – your workplace could be filled with multiple germ hotspots.
Some surprising germ hotspots in the office are:
Computer mouse and keyboard…
Many employees spend their day working at their computer, and some people even stay there for lunch. A dirty mouse and keyboard can harbour about 7,500 germs – which means lunch at your desk may be doing more harm than good.
Before eating you should always wash and dry your hands, whether you’re in the office or at home. Studies have shown that practising good hand hygiene, especially after using the toilet and before eating, can reduce illness by as much as 50%.
Antibacterial hand wash is an essential in any bathroom and kitchen in order to fight germs, so make sure your workplace is properly stocked up. It is also a good idea to have a sanitiser station with clear signage in high footfall areas where there isn’t a sink, for convenience, so your staff can keep there hands clean all of the time.
Tips for keeping your desk clean:
- If you are using a phone that others have used, have a pack of antimicrobial wipes handy to banish bacteria and cold and flu viruses. A little time taken to clean your phone could mean fewer sick days off work.
- If you’re eating at your desk, wash your hands before touching food or use a hand sanitiser.
- Move the keyboard away so it doesn’t collect crumbs.
- Use anti-microbial hand gel before you use the phone to ensure your hands are clean
- Bin your packaging rather than leaving it on the desk. Leaving food or mess around encourages pests – another source of germs! Click here to see our range of office bins
- Try to break the habit of chewing the top of your pen. If you don’t know where a pen has been, you could be ingesting bacteria or viruses left by someone else.
- Give borrowed pens or any stationary a clean with an anti-bacterial wipe.
- Use anti-microbial hand gel regularly throughout the day to make sure your hands are clean.
- Dispose of tissues immediately in the bin or toilet – don’t leave them sitting on your desk.
Whether a briefcase, laptop bag or glamourous handbag, it’s easy to come into work in the morning, put your bag on your desk and start unpacking your equipment. But have you ever thought about how many germs are on the underside of your bag?
You may have placed it on the ground outside or on the floor of a toilet, so it’s little wonder that bags can collect so many germs – this might make you think twice about putting it on top of your desk!
Keeping some antibacterial and antiviral sanitiser wipes nearby will mean you can quickly wipe away any germs or harmful bacteria from your desk. A handy pack of 50 sanitiser wipes for hands and surfaces is a great thing to keep in your bag, so you can sanitise while you are on the go.
- Try and avoid placing bags anywhere they may collect dirt, and wash them regularly at home.
- Clean surfaces that have been in contact with your bag, with disinfectant wipes
The office fridge
Putting your lunch in the fridge when you arrive at work is an everyday occurrence for many members of staff. Things are often left forgotten in there – leading to the presence of mould.
According to research by Hassle.com, the average fridge is said to contain more than 7,800 bacteria colony-forming units per square centimetre. With bacteria being able to thrive, a top office kitchen cleaning tip is to wipe out your fridge every two days, including the door handle where people touch the most. Surface sanitising wipes are perfect for wiping your fridge out regularly. It may be a good idea to empty the fridge out on a monthly basis and wipe it out with a more heavy duty cleaner.
Tips for keeping the office fridge clean:
- If you share a work fridge, ask for a thermometer so you can check the temperature.
- Remove any out-of-date food
- Keep a tub of sanitiser wipes near the fridge for regular wipe downs
- Make a policy to clear the fridge out at the end of the month and clean it.
- Protect your own food by placing it in plastic lidded containers.
- Keep ready-to-eat foods at the top of the fridge away from raw foods. Once you have opened a pack it will go off quicker than its original use-by date – follow the instructions on the pack.
Greeting clients or saying ‘hello’ to friends is often introduced with a handshake. But a study conducted in both the US and the UK found that you are more likely to spread viruses by shaking hands than by kissing. Since COVID-19 however the social distancing solution has been to ‘elbow tap’ instead of hand shake, but it is still important to remember for the future that shaking hands can spread germs. Keeping a personal pump bottle of hand sanitiser on you is useful for keeping your hands clean wherever you are, or hand wash wipes.
This highlights the need for good hand hygiene, but it’s not just washing your hands you need to take into account – drying them is just as important. Paper towels are essential around the workplace. Hand towels are said to remove the bacteria while drying, while electric hand driers can spread bacteria.… so make sure you have a good amount of paper towel rolls in stock.
Tips for good hand hygiene:
- Wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after using the bathroom, or eating.
- Keep using hand sanitiser gel or hand sanitiser wipes throughout the day, especially before or after you shake a persons hand.
Touchpoints like lift buttons or door handles…
Communal objects like door handles, lift buttons, desk phones and photocopiers tend to have germs lurking which could cause illness.
When wiping down a keyboard or computer mouse, it’s worth also giving your phone a quick wipe and any door handles or other touch points nearby. Make sure your sanitiser wipes are approved to kill bacteria and viruses, so you can be assured they will help combat germs.
Tips for cleaning touch points like door handles:
- Remember, contamination happens when bacteria is transferred from one person to a touchpoint surface like a door handle and on to another person.
- Always wash your hands after using the toilet and try not to touch the door handle.
- Use some tissue, your elbows or your hand within a sleeve to open the door.
- Use anti-bacterial hand gel after touching door handles and photocopier buttons – especially if you’re about to eat.
- Regularly sanitise these touchpoints with wipes. Add it into your daily cleaning schedule. It is a good idea to have wipe bucket holders in your office area for your staff to use regularly, with clear signage to serve as a reminder.
Follow these quick and easy office cleaning tips, and you and your colleagues could be on your way to a cleaner office space.
Germs are all around us all of the time, and hotspots in the office are not unusual. There are simple steps that we can take to keep ourselves safe and healthy while at work.
I hope you found our tips helpful for preventing ill health in the office by tackling germs hotspots, whether it be in the home office or a commercial premises.
At Unisan we empower cleaner and greener facilities, providing a range of hygiene products including sanitiser stations, hand sanitiser gel, sanitiser wipes, paper towel rolls and dispensers, hand cleaning and protection systems, face mask dispensers and more!