At a glance, almost all offices look spotlessly clean. It even smells a bit sterile, unless an aroma diffuser is being used in the space. But if you closely inspect the nooks and crannies, you may notice dust buildup and other debris. Those may not seem like a big deal, but if there’s dirt buildup anywhere in your office, it is likely that germs are also spread around the place.
Even if you only handle food in the pantry, it doesn’t mean that your workstations are completely germ-free. In fact, you and anyone coming into your office bring dirt the moment you walk in. The shoes you’re wearing have been in other places, like the streets, buses, and trains. Your hands have also touched other surfaces. And one of the most crucial things we learned during the pandemic is that COVID-19 can spread through infected surfaces.
Aside from washing your hands or using a disinfecting mat, you should also have your office cleaned regularly. Even more so if you have an open-plan office. In such a space, it could take just one person sneezing for an outbreak to occur. An uncovered sneeze or cough produces a spray of up to 4,000 infected droplets, which can travel at a speed of 200 mph. It can cover up to 26 feet of distance, and linger in the air for 10 minutes. Just imagine the havoc that will cause in your open-plan office.
That said, here are the other shocking facts about the germs in your workplace:
The Dirtiest Places In Your Office
If you have a multi-story office, pay particular attention to the elevator. Aside from maintaining its function, you should also sanitize its buttons, especially the most-pressed ones. If the office’s elevator isn’t in your care, just sanitize your hands after using it, and advise your employees to do the same.
Door Knobs or Handles
Like elevator buttons, doorknobs and handles are also riddled with germs. And they’re often overlooked. From now on, require your cleaning staff to always wipe them down and sanitize them.
Did you know that desktops have 400 times more germs than a toilet seat? That’s where you probably acquire your colds. Make it a habit to wipe down your desk with a disinfecting wipe before and after use.
The things on your desk, such as the keyboard, telephone, and computer, are also packed with germs. The oil and grime on your hands get transferred on them, and if you eat or drink on your desk, you may also leave food residue on those things. Clean them with a disinfecting wipe as well, and avoid snacking on your desk.
The printer, copier, fax, postage meter, and other office equipment are major breeding grounds for germs as well. And chances are you rarely clean them, if not at all. Place a disinfecting or sanitizing wipe nearby so that employees will remember to clean the equipment before and after use.
The pantry is probably the only place in your office that you think is dirty. In particular, the germiest things around it are the coffeemaker, coffee pot, water dispenser, mugs, sink, kitchen sponge, microwave door, vending machine, and fridge door. Even if you wash the mugs and coffee pots, germs could still linger in them because of the dirty sponge and sink. So require your cleaning staff to be thorough in your pantry, and to frequently replace sponges with new ones.
Anything your hand touches in the restroom could be dirty. Washing your hands in the sink may not even be 100% effective because of the dirty faucet, soap dispenser, and hand dryer. In this case, it’s safer to use sensor-powered bathroom fixtures or to bring your own paper towel to dry your hands with.
Cleanliness Policies To Implement
Besides hiring a trustworthy professional office cleaner, train your employees to be responsible for their own stuff and work areas as well. Release a memo reminding everyone to observe proper personal hygiene. In the new normal, that would be carrying a hand sanitizer at all times, covering their faces while coughing or sneezing, and disinfecting objects or surfaces before touching them. If an employee still observes poor hygiene after your constant reminders, have a private meeting with them to encourage their improvement.
Have hand sanitizers and other disinfecting tools in your reception area. As for the individual work desks, implement a clean desk policy, which requires all employees to keep their desks clutter-free. Keeping their workstations tidy at all times can slow down the spread of dust and other germs, minimizing the risk of spreading diseases as a result.
Even when the pandemic is over, maintain your strict cleanliness and hygiene policies. Nobody wants another outbreak or pandemic to occur, after everything we’ve been through during COVID-19. Be considerate of one another and observe cleanliness at all times.