The Top 5 Germ Hotspots in the Office

office desk - germ hotspots in the office

As an employer, you must protect the health and wellbeing of your workforce.

With the average employee spending upwards of 40 hours a week in the office environment, a clean and tidy one is essential for their health and productivity.

While most employers will try their hardest to maintain a tidy workplace, the office is still a major breeding ground for viruses and bacteria. And because we all touch numerous surfaces or share equipment, the chances are these germs are spreading around.

You’d think some of the most popular hotspots for germs around the office would be areas like the toilets, door handles, bins and kitchen—but you’d be surprised.

In this piece, we’ll explore some common surfaces that could act as a haven from bacteria. We’ll also offer some tips on how to protect the health of your employees.

 

Desks

Because your employees spend most of their time at their desk you’d think that it is amongst the cleanest places in the office right? Wrong. According to research carried out by Visualisations, the average desk contains more germs than a toilet seat.

This is due to a variety of factors including that some people forget to wash their hands after eating or even using the toilet. Combine that with fact that up to 67% of employees have lunch at their desk and you shouldn’t be surprised that hospitals in the UK are seeing an increase in the number of flu admissions since the start of 2018.

#Tip 1: Provide antibacterial wipes and hand sanitisers to eliminate bacteria and other viruses.

#Tip 2: Remember to wash hands after eating or using the toilet.

 

Coffee mugs

These can be a major breeding ground for germs and mould. If you don’t have a dishwasher, then chances are your staff aren’t getting rid of the germs. Sharing mugs increases the possibility of transferring viruses to other members of staff.

#Tip 1: Don’t share mugs.

#Tip 2: User sterile water to wash as it helps to prevent the build-up of germs and bacteria.

 

Fridge

The communal fridge in the office is a major culprit when it comes to hotspots for germs. Employees could pick it up simply by touching the fridge after a co-worker has touched it with their germ-infected hands. Apart from that, there’s also an increased risk of contracting listeria as a result of storing food past their use-by date.

#Tip 1: Clear out all out-of-date food from the fridge regularly.

#Tip 2: Make sure food is protected by placing it in a plastic lidded container.

 

Keyboards and mouse

A study on workplace hygiene found an average of 3,000 micro-organisms per square inch on keyboards and 1,600 bacteria per square inch on a computer mouse.

It’s one thing if these germs are yours but for companies that embrace hot-desks, the chances are employees will simply be transferring viruses from some person to another.

#Tip 1: Move the position of keyboard regularly to above build-up of dust, debris, and other contaminants.

#Tip 2: Don’t leave tissues on desks after using, dispose of it to avoid transferring on to surfaces.

 

Photocopier

This is another communal equipment that’s probably used by most people in the office. That means if a healthy employee uses it after a co-worker with the flu for example, the virus can be transferred to them.

 

#Tip 1: Wash hands or sanitise before and after using the photocopier or other shared equipment.

#Tip 2: Disinfect machinery regularly.

 

 Final word

Ill employees can affect work at various levels. It can impact

  • Absenteeism
  • Engagement
  • Retention
  • Morale
  • Productivity
  • Business goals

A survey of 1,000 employees in 2018 by CIPD found that over 86% of respondents admitted to observing presenteeism at work within the last two years. This unhealthy practice makes it difficult to protect your employees.

As well as educating your workforce on the importance of proper hygiene and the effects of coming to work sick, you should also invest in a professional cleaning service. They have the knowledge, resources and equipment to identify and eliminate the hotspots for germs and other bacteria.

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