Your office is probably not as clean as you think it is. You might have a cleaner or get the office vacuumed a few times a week but wherever there are people, there is likely to be the potential for infection. And, since we tend to spend more time at work than at home, we need to practice good hygiene in the workplace, especially as it is more likely that there are a greater number of people there – people who can spread germs and disease.
What can be done to ensure a hygienic workplace? Your colleagues and employees need to adopt good hygiene practices. These will ensure that, despite the number of people operating in a confined space, your office will stay a clean environment, largely safe for all.
Top tips for maintaining good workplace hygiene:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water, for at least 30 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, working with food, or being in close contact with others.
- Keep an alcohol-based hand sanitiser at your desk for those times you need to quickly cleanse your hands. Alcohol kills viruses and bacteria immediately.
- Avoid frequently touched surfaces such as hand rails, bathroom stall locks, and bathroom countertops as these can expose you to germs. Bathrooms can be a health hazard if they are not properly cleaned, stocked, and maintained. Consider hiring a professional cleaning company to manage the ablution facilities in your organisation.
- Avoid touching your face after touching any surfaces and before washing your hands to avoid spreading germs from your nails to your mouth and eyes.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue if you sneeze or cough and throw the tissue away. Then be sure to wash your hands before continuing with your work.
- Avoid eating at your desk or over your computer as you can drop crumbs onto your work station. The debris might dirty the desk surface, attract insects, damage your computer, or dirty the carpet underneath your desk.
- Desks are much dirtier than you think or that can be seen with the naked eye! Take the time to clean your desk, chair, telephone handset, and computer on a regular basis, using the correct cleaning product and disinfectant wipes to remove viruses and bacteria.
- Make sure that all communal glassware, crockery, and cutlery are washed in hot, soapy water, rinsed properly, and dried with a clean dish towel. If you can use a dishwasher, even better.
- Store food in the fridge or a clean, cool drawer, in a properly sealed container. Do not leave food out to get hot or spoil and don’t leave any food debris behind after you’ve eaten. Your work fridge should be cleaned on a regular basis and any past-the-sell-by-date items thrown away.
- Make sure the air conditioner is working properly. Proper ventilation is important to prevent stuffiness and overheating – conditions friendly to viruses. To ensure germ-free air and repel airborne viruses, your office should have a cool, consistent temperature and a proper exhaust system.
A bonus tip – Stay at home if you are ill. You might be reluctant to miss work because of a cold or seemingly minor illness but, if you stay home, you are more likely to recover quickly and you will avoid spreading germs to your colleagues.
Office not as clean as it could be? Speak to HR if you notice that hygiene standards are slipping in your workplace. It is their job to ensure that you work in healthy and safe environment and that proper hygiene rules are followed at all times. This also includes hiring a cleaning company or organising a cleaner to ensure that the environment is properly maintained at all times.