Workplace Hygiene – Germs you don’t know about in your office

Germs lurk in the hidden (and not so hidden) corners of every office. We tend to be very familiar with the places we work. As long as everything looks clean enough, we often don’t worry too much about the bacteria we cannot see.

Without a proper approach to office hygiene, the team in your office could be affected by a number of rather nasty bugs and bacteria. Here’s a list of what you can’t see but may well be lying in wait for staff every time they come into work.


Known as the ‘winter vomiting bug’, Norovirus causes unpleasant stomach upsets but usually goes away after two days. However, it can easily be contracted through close contact with anyone who is infected, or touching surfaces where the bug is present.


The main source of salmonella is raw meat, poultry, eggs and unpasteurised milk. Humans pass the bacteria around by hand and on any surface where food is prepared. What’s worse is that humans can be carriers without showing symptoms for up to a year. The bacteria gives victims food poisoning with all the unpleasantness involved.

E. Coli

E.coli can be harmless but can also cause stomach infections and food poisoning. Symptoms frequently pass in seven days but in rare cases it can cause extremely severe illness.


This is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK. Infection is usually the result of contact with contaminated raw chicken. Most victims recover quickly but it will sometimes cause severe illness. Raw chicken should most certainly be banned from the office fridge.

Staphylococcus aureus

Staphylococcus bacteria live harmlessly on various parts of the human skin, but can spread through close skin contact or sharing towels. Typically infection will result in painful lumps, sores or blisters, and may need antibiotoics for treatment.

Common colds

Catching a cold is part of life and doesn’t necessarily need medication. However no-one functions fully with a cold, and they are easily spread through coughs and sneezes, making ‘the office cold’ a well-known feature of the working world.


Flu of influenza can lay sufferers out for days or week with aches, tiredness, coughs and headaches. In some ways it’s like a severe cold, but unlike a cold comes on quickly.It is very infectious, mainly through coughs and sneezes. Sufferers will not be welcome at work because they are likely to spread the illness throughout the office.

How do you prevent infection in the office?

This may not be pleasant reading, but please bear in mind that the way to minimise the risk of infection is to adhere to high standards of office hygiene. That’s the least that staff can ask of their employer.

Solutions include hand-washing and keeping surfaces and office equipment properly cleaned. Staff can manage cleanliness by themselves to a degree but to keep an entire office as germ-free as possible, a professional cleaning company will be needed. Contact Hashtag Clean to see how we can help you to achieve a perfectly clean, hygienic office where staff can work in safety and comfort.

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