Feeling the mid-afternoon slump? Taking a coffee break to get the juices flowing, to fire up your grey matter again?
Here’s some food for thought for you as enjoy your three o’clock biscuit break: that keyboard you’ve been tapping away on all day, replying to emails and drafting reports? It contains 3,295 microbes per square inch.
That’s way more than you’d find on an average toilet seat (only 49 germs per inch, if you’re desperate to know).
Basically, your keyboard hosts a whole microscopic world of thriving and continually-breeding germs of which E coli isn’t even the most dangerous. And you move from typing, to touching your face, shaking hands, and eating food – all without stopping to disinfect your grubby paws.
It’s no wonder colds and infections pass so easily around offices. Luckily there’s something you can do to prevent outbreaks, and it’s not as drastic as you might think. The potential health issues are severe, but the solutions are much simpler.
We’ve highlighted three of the easiest ways you can significantly improve the hygiene of your office. Take a look.
Get your desk in tip-top shape
Since most of us eat, drink, work and procrastinate without leaving our desks, it’s not surprising that they’re one of the dirtiest areas in a typical office. Cracks and crevices of keyboards, screens and phones are the ideal breeding ground for germs, but they aren’t the only ones. Plastic and formica surfaces are also hospitable environments, meaning your entire work surface is at risk.
Supply your staff with hand sanitisers and antibacterial wipes to clean down their desks. There are lots of handy tips for cleaning your grimy keyboard – although, in some particularly grim cases, you’re probably as well cutting your losses and buying a new one.
Take hygiene into your own hands
You might think it’s been thoroughly drilled into everyone since their school days, but plenty of people still don’t wash their hands properly. It’s a disgusting thought that’ll make you shy away from shaking hands with anyone in the future, but dwelling on it too long isn’t going to help.
You can’t force people into proper hand hygiene, but providing a clean and fully equipped bathroom is a good place to start. Always have antibacterial soap on offer, and install hand dryers – wet hands are a magnet for bacteria, and automatic electric dryers are much more effective than paper towels.
Have sick days when necessary
Coming down with a cold is one of those annoying situations where you just can’t win. You stay at home and everyone accuses you of skiving, come into the office and every time you sneeze or cough people will shrink away in disgust. And nothing will save you if someone else gets ill – the blame will be firmly at your door as they glare accusingly across their Lemsip at every opportunity.
You’re legally obliged to allow absences for illnesses, but make sure employees know that they can use them without judgement. A few under-staffed days is much better than a full blown epidemic. If someone has a contagious illness, encourage them to take a short break, or work from home if suitable.
It might be unpleasant to think about the bacteria and germs floating about your office, but at least there are a few simple measures that’ll quickly solve any dangerous health issues from surfacing. If you have any hygiene tips we haven’t mentioned, leave a comment and share your advice.