Office hygiene is an important thing to consider and is something which is often overlooked by busy employees. Did you know that studies have shown that the average desk is actually dirtier than a toilet seat?
The six worst places for the rapid build-up of bacteria are:
- Keyboard: Of course, you touch your keyboard often, over and over throughout the day. But if you are not regularly washing your hands, you are slowly covering the entire keyboard with dirt and bacteria from the toilet, from uncleaned door handles, from your mouth and face if you have been eating, fixing your make-up or simply touching your own face. The study found 3,295 bacteria per inch on a keyboard that had been used in average office conditions.
- Mouse: Your mouse does not pick up quite as much grime as a keyboard at just 1,676 bacteria per inch, but it still does slowly acquire a film of dirt – and very few people think of cleaning their mouse so what does accumulate on the mouse tends to stay there for quite a while!
- Phone: Talking into a desk phone, touching the number pad and just having the phone in easy reach of all your desk-bound activities leaves a lot of bacteria on the handset – over 25,000 bacteria per inch! Phones do tend to be cleaned more often by users, but even here there are some people who seldom or never wipe down or disinfect their phone. Shared phones should be disinfected or wiped clean several times a day as well as at the end of the day.
- Mug: If you keep your favourite mug on your desk to make sure no early birds use, make sure you clean it thoroughly after each use. Studies found up to 1,700 bacteria per inch on the rim of a mug that had been used throughout the day.
- Desktop: Even if your desk looks relatively clean and tidy, it might not be. Surprisingly, the desk surface was found to be the second-highest offender with a staggering 20,961 bacteria per inch. Visibly dirty desks will contain an even higher level of contamination.
So, if you are now worried that you do have a dirty desk, after all, what are the best practices when it comes to desk cleaning?
How To Keep Your Desk Clean
Wash Your Hands
The one obvious thing that everyone can do at every suitable opportunity is to wash their hands properly, at least once every two hours, and definitely after going to the toilet, as well as before and after eating.
Keep Electronics Clean
Electronics obviously cannot be sprayed or allowed to get wet, but there are a host of cleaning products designed for use with electronics. Keyboards should be turned upside down, so any loose detritus that has slipped between the keys can fall out, an air spray (which blasts clean air) can be used to loosen any particles and crumbs that are stuck in there, and then the whole keyboard can be wiped down with a disinfectant wipe. Most other electronics can be wiped in a similar fashion, removing dirt and leaving a thin protective layer of disinfectant.
The Downfalls Of Hot Desking
If your workplace embraces hotdesking – the practice of sharing desks between several employees, each working different shifts – then hygiene becomes even more important. People can build up a certain level of immunity to their own bacteria, but others might become ill from it. Ensure that each shift leaves their desk clean and sanitised before the next employee arrives, and act quickly should an employee complain about the lack of hygiene in a colleague – few businesses can thrive when a significant proportion of the workforce is ill!
Eat Away From Your Desk
Eating at the desk is common practice with some employees thinking that it makes them look good to management. In fact, productivity soars when employees step away from their desk after a few hours of hard work, even for a short break. If you have the office space, set up a small break room/ lunchroom where employees can go to eat their food or relax for a few minutes. If space does not allow for this, put in place a rule in which keyboards, phones and computer mice are cleared away from the eating space while the food is being consumed, and the desk surface cleaned and sanitised afterwards. Ensure that all dirty plates, cutlery and mugs are washed up and put away as soon as possible.
Hire A Professional
Hire a cleaning company, by taking out a regular contract. Professional cleaners know all the office bacteria hotspots and are trained in how to safely and appropriately clean the office environment. Your employees might not be able to clean perfectly, but with the cleaners to give them a clean slate, in every sense of the word, once or twice a day, you will soon find that dirty desks are a thing of the past.
Here at Cleanology, we provide you with a bespoke, proactive office cleaning service. Get in touch today!