We think our desks are clean, but unless they’re disinfected regularly, they’re actually a hotbed of germs. A University of Arizona study found that there are around 400 times more bacteria on computer keyboards than there are on toilet seats. Yuck!
Here are a few of our top tips to help keep your office germ free and healthy:
1. Wash your hands
We may say it a lot, but it really is important to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly to avoid the spread of germs. Wash your hands when you arrive at work. Think of all the things you may touch on the way to work: your keys, phone or tablet, the Tube or train, or your car if you drive, buttons in the lift, a newspaper… All of these, especially those touched by others, will be full of germs.
Also wash your hands before you eat or drink anything – putting unclean fingers in your mouth greatly increases your risk of e-coli or salmonella. And of course, don’t forget to wash your hands every time you use the bathroom!
2. Be careful what you touch
The average person touches 300 surfaces every 30 minutes, exposing themselves to 840,000 germs. Consider the number of things you and your colleagues all touch in your office, often without thinking: shared surfaces in meeting rooms, the kitchen and other communal areas, doorknobs and doorframes, the photocopier or printer, colleagues’ desks, to name but a few.
You’re touching and spreading millions of germs each day! Touching them is unavoidable but washing your hands to help eliminate them is not so difficult.
3. Use hand sanitiser
OK, so it might not always be possible to pop to the bathroom to wash your hands every few minutes. Using hand sanitiser can help minimise the risk of spreading germs when you can’t get to the sink. Keep some on your desk, in meeting rooms, other communal areas and at your reception desk, so that visitors can also clean their hands before they shake yours.
4. Don’t eat at your desk
Food crumbs on your desk encourage the growth of nasty bacteria and spilling food encourages germs to spread. But it’s not just germs lurking on your desk that could give you colds, gastroenteritis or food poisoning. Eating at your desk also makes you less effective and can affect your productivity. Read our blog post on why eating at your desk will not make you successful.
5. Coughs and sneezes spread diseases
While we all know coughing and sneezing causes germs to spread and be caught by others, you’re far more likely to catch a cold from a contaminated surface. Germs and bugs can survive on surfaces for up to 72 hours, so it’s absolutely crucial to clean them regularly, especially if you or a colleague has a cold. Diligent washing, wiping and sanitising can help reduce incidents of colds and flu by as much as 80%.
6. Take extra precautions if you’re ill
And if you do have a cold or flu, do your colleagues a favour and work from home if you can, or take the time off. They will thank you for it and you will also recover more quickly. If it’s unavoidable for you to go into work, take extra precautions. Use tissues to catch the drips from your nose, wash your hands more often, use hand sanitiser after you’ve blown your nose or caught a cough or sneeze in your palms, and disinfect your desk, keyboard, mouse and phone.
7. Have your computers professionally cleaned
Does this all sound a bit much? Professional computer cleaning, such as that offered by Capital Computer Care, can help you minimise the germs spreading. It will also improve your staff morale and productivity, saving you money in the long run. So let us take the stress out of cleaning your desks for you.
What other tips do you have for keeping your office healthy?
Written by Jane Rogers
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