By now, you’ve heard that most of your employees don’t know how to properly wash their hands and miss up to 5 days of work because of the flu each year. Although our flu shot clinics and hand washing education booths can truly help make your office healthier, the first line of defense starts with your own workspace. Even the best cleaning services are likely to miss most of these high-traffic areas, many of which are crawling with bacteria that can infect and spread amongst your staff. Read on to discover where germs are hiding in your office space.
The break room
A 2012 study by Kimberly-Clark Professional swabbed 4,800 office surfaces and discovered that some of the dirtiest places were in the break room, where employees are prepping and eating their breakfast and lunches. The break room sink faucet, refrigerator door handles, microwave door handles and coffee pots all proved to be breeding grounds for bacteria. Ensure that your employees are cleaning up after themselves and washing their hands before they sit down to eat that freshly prepared meal.
Your mouse and keyboard
Can you remember the last time you wiped down your keyboard? Probably not, and your office cleaning crew is unlikely to get down to that level of detail. An often-cited 2008 study by a British consumer advocacy group suggests that your keyboard may be up to five times dirtier than the office toilet seat. Keeping a container of sanitary wipes (look for those that say they kill “99.9% of germs”) next to your desk for a weekly swipe across your computer equipment should do the trick of keeping your area clean.
The copy machine and printer
Any shared piece of equipment in your office is likely crawling with germs. Again, the copy machine isn’t necessarily a place where cleaning crews will think of wiping it down. Be sure you’re washing your hands throughout the day, especially after spending a lot of time at the copier.
Your desk phone
Study after study shows that office or home phones hardly ever get cleaned, despite the fact that our mouths are constantly chatting next to the receivers. That same bottle of sanitary wipes at your desk should be used to wipe off the receiver and buttons on your desk phone.
Light switches and door knobs
Here are more common examples of a high traffic place that's often neglected when it comes to cleaning. In fact, the U.S. Hygiene Council conducted a study that showed a bathroom light switch can carry up to 217 bacteria/square inch.
Keeping these areas clean is much easier than you think, and can result in a healthier workforce, especially during flu season. Ensure that all of your employees have access to hand sanitizer and desk wipes, and be sure that cleaning crews know when they need to pay extra attention to certain area of the office.