We’re in the depths of winter, and flu season is in full swing.
Although the workplace may appear clean, there are a number of hotspots that can harbour bacteria and viruses leading to ill health.
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 be done to tackle them?
This came as a surprise to me. Office desks harbours more germs than toilets, office workers spend most of the day at their desks so it isn’t surprising really. Not only that but many people eat at their desks too, leading to more dirt build up. The desk may house a phone and keyboard/mouse – other germ hotspots commonly forgotten about. Crumbs can get trapped in the keyboard crevices, amplifying the problems.
To keep bacteria at bay, regularly wipe down desks with an antibacterial wipe. Keep your desk free from clutter, and use hand sanitizer before eating or using the phone.
Travelling with your bag to and from work can mean that it picks up germs on the way, from placing it on a bathroom floor, or dirty ground – and then the top of a desk!
- Try and avoid placing bags anywhere they may collect dirt, and wash them regularly at home.
- Spray surfaces that have been in contact with your bag, with disinfectant spray.
Doors are touched by everybody coming and going, and are therefore a prime place for bacteria to be passed between workers. The same goes for any sort of communal items such as lift buttons and photocopiers.
- It is worth utilising the sanitising spray and a cloth – our choice would be an antibacterial cleaner and microfibre cloth, which are very effective at removing bacteria.
- Preventative measures like handwashing with hand soap and water, reduce the burden of germs being spread.
Upto 20% of mugs harbour faecal bacteria! Too often, mugs are improperly washed, left on desks growing germs. Some offices won’t utilise a dishwasher, but it does need proper washing up at the end of the day.
- Ideally, bring your own mug to work, wash with washing up liquid daily and keep it at your desk. The same goes for reusable water bottles.
A heavily used communal fridge is perhaps not as surprising a bacterial breeding ground as some other workplace spaces. Many people bring items to work which require refrigeration, and ultimately some items get left to spoil and go mouldy.
Ensure that foods are not stored in the fridge past their use by date, and also that cross contamination does not occur between raw and cooked foods – storing things in the communal fridge shouldn’t be a free for all.
- A suggestion I learned from using a hospital communal fridge is to ensure food is packaged in leakproof containers, named and dated. Food not used within a certain time frame is then discarded.
- Wipe down fridges inside and out with antibacterial cleaners regularly. The same goes for any food preparation areas and surfaces.
Finally, when greeting guests beware of the potential to spread germs!
Excellent hand hygiene is paramount at all times, after using the bathroom, before and after eating, and yes, after shaking hands with a visitor.
- Keep hand sanitizing gel at each desk, and keep hand wash and paper hand towel dispensers well stocked in washrooms and food preparation areas.
Although it can make for unsavoury reading, germs are all around us all of the time. These germ hotspots in the office are not unusual, and there are simple steps that we can take to keep ourselves safe and healthy while at work.
So there we have it, our tips for preventing ill health in the office by tackling germs hotspots, whether it be in the home office or a commercial premises there are ideas and products for everyone to consider.
Here at Loorolls, we pride ourselves to being a leading stockist of janitorial & cleaning products, feel free to browse our range of products online or call us on 0151 342 2111 to create a trade account and enjoy bulk discounts.