5 Office Germ Hotspots, and How you can Reduce the Risk
25th March 2019
Most of us are aware of the importance of a clean, safe environment in which to work, but in all seriousness, do we really know where to look for, and how to approach reducing the number of harmful bacteria and germs in the office?
If we were to ask you ‘where in your workplace is the least hygienic area carrying the most amount of bacteria/germs?’, chances are, you’d reply; the toilets. However studies have shown that toilets are 400x less harmful than what’s on your average keyboard. This may seem shocking, but there are some easy steps you can take to make your workplace much more hygienic.
A typical desk has up to 10 million bacteria, which is 100x more germs than the average kitchen table, and 400x more germs than the average toilet seat.
To prevent any bacteria or harmful germs infecting your desk, simply use disinfectant wipes and routinely wipe over your desk space. Why not block a time slot in your diary, where you spend 10 minutes at the end of your week cleaning and decluttering your desk (we all know we’re guilty of hoarding reports we no longer need, or food that we’ve stashed in our drawers!)?
Sharing a phone in an office environment isn’t out of the ordinary, it’s part of working life. Shared phones however can collect more than 25,000 germs per square inch compared to a toilet seat, that has 49 germs per square inch. As you’d expect, multiple people using the same phone means that germs can be transferred easily across the workplace.
This can be easily avoided, if everyone who handles the phone agrees to use hand sanitiser before and after a call, and wipe the handset with disinfectant wipes regularly. Short term, it may take a while to get used to, but soon enough, it would become routine.
Arguably one of the most used pieces of equipment in any office environment, the keyboard is very hands on, and therefore the perfect breeding ground for germs. A study found that over 50% of office workers regularly eat lunch/snacks at their desk, increasing the chances of transferring highly infectious germs to our food.
To help prevent this, simply wipe over your keyboard daily with wipes that can kill bacteria, wash your hands before you eat, or move away from your desk to eat – find a communal area, this can also help you get that much deserved break from work whilst you eat your lunch.
If you work in a big office block, you’ll likely be familiar with travelling in the lift to get to your place of work. With hundreds, if not thousands of people using the same lift everyday, it’s not surprising the lift buttons get a lot of use, and therefore harbour harmful germs and bacteria.
To minimise the risk of these germs transferring onto your hands, it’s always good to carry hand sanitiser so that you can cleanse your hands after using the lift, and consider washing your hands before sitting at your desk and starting your day. We’ve also seen people use elbows and pens, whatever they have to hand to avoid touching buttons with their hands.
When you arrive at work in the morning, think of all the things that you’ve done up until that point. Perhaps you’ve ridden the bus or train, or petted your dog before you left the house.. Both activities are fairly standard, but will likely result in germs and bacteria being transferred, which are then transferred again when you use the handle to enter your place of work.
Again, hand sanitiser can be your saviour here, using it after using the door handle, or try opening the door with a tissue or your sleeve, rather than directly with your hands which will then likely go on to answer your phone or type on your keyboard.
In less than five hours, 500 bacteria can become 16,000,000. It’s a scary statistic, and although not all bacteria is necessarily bad for you, it’s worth taking measures to eliminate the risk of coming into contact with those that can be harmful – just a few simple changes when completing ordinary tasks such as opening a door can benefit your health, leading to a more productive workplace.
If you’d like to discuss how we can help keep your workplace free from germs, get in touch using our form.