Office Hygiene Tips from Biomaster
Although there may always be some workers who are trying to pull a fast one on their employers, the winter of 2016/17 saw the highest levels of Norovirus in five years and a sudden surge in cases of flu.
According to a Government study in 2014, over 130 million work days are lost each year to sickness related absences which costs the UK economy around £100 billion per year, so how can you make your workplace a more hygienic place?
A virus can spread from one contaminated door handle to around 40-60% of commonly touched objects in around 2-4 hours, so practicing good hygiene is key.
Research carried out in 2016 by online medical advice site Dr Ed found that the Northern Line of the London Underground was the most germ-ridden on the network with a bacterial count of over 1600 per 10cm2 so let’s start with the journey to work…
Read on for 10 tips from Biomaster for practicing good hygiene in the workplace:
1. Handrail hygiene
Shared, high traffic areas like handrails, ticket machines and seats are a hotspot for pathogenic bacteria so make sure to wash your hands with soap and warm water when you arrive at the office.
2. Targeted cleaning
In the office areas like the coffee machine, phones and photocopier buttons can build up bacteria so practicing targeted cleaning can help to reduce potential transmission.
3. Clean your keyboard
Your keyboard can be harbour around 7500 bacteria, and shared equipment can be even higher. With such a breeding ground for bacteria it’s important to regularly clean with an antibacterial wipe, especially if you’re hot-desking.
4. Hand washing is key
Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after going to the toilet and before and after eating.
5. Lunchtime etiquette
Rather than preparing your lunch directly onto the kitchen worktop, use a clean board or a plate to stop your food picking up any bacteria that might be lying around on the surface.
6. A more hygienic lunchbreak
It’s estimated that 2 in 3 of us eat lunch at our desk. Aside from missing out on exercise and fresh air, your desk can harbour more germs than a toilet seat so it might be time to eat elsewhere.
7. Hands off your face
Your eyes, mouth and nose are all high risk pathways for contracting bugs. If your hands are touching dirty equipment and surfaces and then touching sensitive areas on your face you may be at risk of spreading infectious bacteria.
8. Coughs and sneezes, spread diseases
If you have a cold, cough into the crook of your elbow rather than your hands. If you’re sneezing or blowing your nose, do this into a tissue before throwing it away then washing your hands.
9. Look after number one
Don’t rely on your colleagues to practice good hygiene. Instead, focus on good, sensible hygiene like washing your hands and making sure surfaces are clean and this should be enough to prevent sickness.
10. Call in sick
Above all, if you’re too ill to work then stay at home and rest until you’re fully recovered to avoid your illness becoming worse or spreading.