It’s remarkably easy to suffer from illness in a work environment. Unfortunately, this isn’t completely due to the close quarters of co-workers and cubicles. Much of the time, an office environment can be surprisingly germ-ridden because of how often surfaces, appliances, and equipment are touched without being cleaned afterward.
And because an office environment is typically coated with bacteria invisible to the naked eye, employees are likely to fall victim to the common cold like dominos. However, it isn’t impossible to keep yourself and your employees healthy and productively working when a cold has made its way into the office. There are steps you and your employees can make to keep your work environment germ-free.
- Wash Your HandsBe sure to wash your hands periodically throughout the day, not just when you use the bathroom. Cold and flu germs can last on phones, door handles, computer keys, and microwave doors for hours or even days. And the moment you touch face with those germs there’s a high likelihood of you getting sick.Washing your hands under warm water with soap for at least 60 seconds kills up to 60% of the germs on your hands. Even without soap, washing your hands in warm water can kill at least 40% of germs. Put up signs around the office emphasizing the importance of handwashing and be sure to follow through with routinely washing your own hands.
- Skip the Hand SanitizerHand sanitizer has been getting some backlash recently. This is in part because the alcohol in the sanitizer, when used frequently, dries out the skin. It’s also in part because the frequent use of hand sanitizer creates an immunity in the bacteria it’s used to fight against meaning it’s ultimately useless after a period of time. If your office has hand sanitizing stations already, you might want to swap them out for soap and water.
- Wipe Down SurfacesBefore eating at their desk, one out of every five office workers fails to clean off the surface. This can transfer bacteria from the surface of the desk onto an employee’s food. And once the bacteria is on your food, it has easy passage to its final destination: the infection of your body.Before and after eating (as well as routinely throughout the day), wipe down the surfaces of desks and keyboards with an antibacterial wipe. This should get rid of at least some of the germs and therefore reduce your risk of getting sick.
- Office Carpet Cleaning and Commercial Cleaning CompaniesSurprisingly, many germs can make your office’s carpet a home. And unlike desks and other surfaces, it’s not often cleaned thoroughly enough to get rid of bacteria that could get you and your employees sick. Consider hiring a professional cleaning service to periodically clean your office environment from top to bottom.Bacteria can often lurk in areas unthought of by the average worker and therefore germs can build up in light fixtures, the carpet, and window sills. Commercial cleaning companies are trained in the area of janitorial work and sanitation. By hiring a commercial cleaning business to conduct office cleaning services routinely throughout the year, you can guarantee the cleanliness of your work environment.
To prevent the common cold from spreading in your work environment, ensure your employees are washing their hands periodically throughout the day and that work surfaces are being wiped down with antibacterial wipes or professionally cleaned by commercial cleaning companies. Germs are often passed on due to the lack of thought regarding their transfer and therefore it’s important to instill a sense of cleanliness in your office environment.