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April 2019

6 office hygiene horror stories

Written by Bakang Kganyago
Workplace Hygiene

Ever walked into an office and wanted to walk right back out due to bad office hygiene habits? Or experienced a horror story so bad that you contemplated going back to the office the next day?

This week, we scoured the internet to search for the worst office hygiene crimes. Internet forums are littered with hygiene horror stories, but here are our top 6 most cringe-worthy:

1. Public grooming:

We’ve heard plenty of stories of people picking their teeth or spitting in public, but the worst public grooming story I’ve read about is of a receptionist unbraiding her hair at the front desk. Nevermind that a receptionist is the first point of contact for clients and watching her fiddle with her hair is unprofessional, having strands of hair all over her work station is definitely unhygienic!

2. Nail clipping at their desks:

Another common hygiene horror story we’ve seen on several forums is that of co-workers clipping their nails at their desks. I personally find it strange that this is common enough for there to be articles online like “Help! My coworker clips his nails at his desk”  - designed to help people address this issue. (I can only imagine the constant fear of a piece of fingernail flying into your morning coffee).

This is especially disgusting as nails may harbour dirt and germs and can contribute to the spread of some infections, such as pinworms.

3. Leaving used tissues at their desks:

With winter fast approaching it is understandable to assume some colleagues may come to work with a cold. But co-workers that pile used tissues on their desks and go on about their business without washing their hands? YUK. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) - a cold-like virus that can cause serious illness in children - can survive on worktops and door handles for up to 6 hours, and on clothing and skin for up to 20 minutes. It is therefore important to quickly address this issue with the culprit before they make the whole office sick.

For situations like this Initial offers a techno hygiene treatment which will ensure that your office equipment is cleaned and sanitized to ensure optimal occupational hygiene standards in your workplace.

4. The fossilized coffee mug:

We found a story online about a man who never washed his coffee cup. He would come into work every day and just add fresh coffee to his cup without so much as rinsing it out. The horrified writer of this particular story details how a green arch-shaped imprint developed on the outside of the rim where his lip would rest on the cup.

If this person is unable to wash his coffee mug imagine the state the rest of his office equipment may be in. For your interest, take our test to find out how clean your laptop keyboard really is.

5. The barefoot marauder:

We’re all aware that formal shoes aren’t always the most comfortable to wear but surely that isn’t a good enough reason to go barefoot in the workplace? One person online recalled having a colleague who would come in every day, take off his shoes and socks and walk around the office in his bare feet. I can only imagine how unsightly and unhygienic that may be - nevermind the possible smell!  

Feet, like hands, require good hygiene practices as they are prone to fungal and bacterial conditions such as athlete’s foot. Therefore walking around barefoot in the office presents another avenue for the spread of infections.

6. Unsanitary disposal of used sanitary products:

Probably the least talked about due to the sensitivity of the subject, the incorrect disposal of used sanitary products is quite common. My partner told me that she has experienced - more than once - horrific situations in which sanitary products have been improperly disposed of: left on the floor or on top of the feminine hygiene units provided in stalls.

Initial Hygiene provides Feminine Hygiene Units to help keep your bathroom clean and tidy, giving bathroom visitors a convenient means to dispose of used sanitary products.

Though these stories make for interesting topics to share with friends, poor hygiene is something one should pay special attention to - it leads to illness, which can easily spread to everyone in your workplace and family. Initial has a myriad of hygiene solutions to help put a stop to your office hygiene nightmares.

Send us your office hygiene horror stories by commenting on the related Facebook post. Let’s see who has the most cringe-worthy experience.
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Featured Image Source: Hungerford 

Bakang Kganyago

Bakang Kganyago

Bakang is a Digital Marketing Executive for Rentokil Initial. A germaphobe at heart, he's passionate about learning and sharing insights on how to defeat the enemy we cannot see. Join his journey as he writes about the impact of germs in our daily lives.

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