5 Tips You Might Want to Consider for a More Hygienic Office
It goes without saying that hygiene plays an extremely important role in our day-to-day lives. We each have our own hygiene routine, and while sticking to these routines is great for our personal health, it's important to remember that hygiene needs to extend beyond us, into the workspace.
Did you know that every time you touch your keyboard, mouse, or phone you're spreading germs? Even if you aren't ill, the bacteria you pick up from the bus journey into town, the traffic light button you pushed and even the door handle to work all contribute to the spread of germs. Additionally, the average workspace (primarily the desk) is thought to be around 100 times dirtier than a kitchen table and 400 times dirtier than a toilet seat.
No, we aren’t joking.
That's why today, we're going to be looking at why hygiene needs to be taken seriously within commercial workspaces. Here are the top 5 hygiene checks you might want to think about to ensure your employees aren't commonly bed-ridden!
- Make a habit of handwashing
This is obvious, so we won't go into too much detail. Washing your hands is an essential part of your daily hygiene routine. Be it at home or in the office, washing your hands regularly stops the spread of germs. While it is the most obvious hygiene point, it's surprising how many people fail to wash their hands, and this is what makes it the biggest germ spreader! The best thing to do is to have antibacterial handwash on your desk, it's a good reminder and a great way to keep on top of your hygiene routine.
- Clean areas and table tops that are used regularly
Your desk isn't the only hotspot for germs and bacteria to grow! We're specifically referencing those corners, areas and bits in and around your office that you don't even notice, let alone feel the need to clean regularly.
Door handles, water coolers, buttons, kettles and even printers are areas which need to be cleaned just as often as desks, kitchen surfaces and bathrooms. It might be an idea to inform your staff (or if you have cleaners) to spend some time on these areas during the next tidy up. Alternatively, there are services that specialise in sanitising and ensuring hygiene levels are kept up to scratch on these surfaces - something else to think about!
- Keep those windows open!
Ventilation is so important in commercial properties, whether you're in an office, warehouse or even working from home, airflow is high on the importance list. Poor air quality can not only lead to fatigue and poor work productivity, but it also increases the risk of contamination! Remember to keep those windows open, even in the colder months – if only a little - as it will drastically help promote healthier air quality and therefore, better productivity.
- Bathrooms and kitchens must be routinely cleaned
Another fairly obvious point to make, but again, one that is often dismissed or at worse, forgotten about! It's now fairly common that offices have communal bathrooms and kitchens, which means many hands and therefore many germs.
For your kitchen, give it a sanitary wipe after every lunch hour, as this is when kitchens are the messiest (who knew!). It's also an idea to make a habit of cleaning the surfaces after each working day, just to ensure no bacteria is left to form overnight.
When it comes to bathrooms and toilets, apply the same principle. Sanitise and wash down floors and walls every week and ensure other areas such as toilet seats sinks, faucets and showers are cleaned every day. If you have newer commercial toilet cubicles, these should be easier to clean due to their design.
- Have a Legionella risk assessment
Arguably the subtlest hygiene issue and definitely the most dangerous is hygiene issue is Legionella. This is the name given to a type of water-borne bacteria which if left untreated, can cause three potentially fatal diseases – collectively known as Legionellosis.
The disease is spread by large scale water systems which are commonly found in offices and large commercial properties that share waterflow. By law, a Legionella risk assessment is required in all commercial premises in order to determine the risk of infection.
Legionella is usually found in man-made building water systems such as:
- Hot tubs that aren't cleaned or drained after use
- Air ventilation systems
- Hot water tanks
- Showerheads and sinks
These are just a few of the areas Legionella can form, which is why it's so important to have a risk assessment.
The assessment itself only takes 10 days to conform to the HSE requirements. After this, providing your check goes successfully, you'll receive your certificate around 12-14 days after the samples were collected.
There we have it, the 5 most important office hygiene tips! While a few of these may seem obvious, it's worth reminding people of their importance. If everyone conformed to the simple hygiene checks above, office productivity and health would see significant improvement.