Have you ever noticed that as soon as one colleague in the office has flu, it seems to spread really quickly? You become aware of Betty from accounts suffering from a sneeze attack, you receive a note from Bronwyn to return a call to one of your co-workers from your mobile phone and then greet Phil from sales by shaking his hand in the morning.
But have you ever thought how these small gestures can impact your health?
Cross contamination is easily spread through touch, which is why it is important to implement proper office cleaning methods to ensure a healthier, more productive workforce, and fewer sick days.
Could your office be losing over 100 days a year due to absenteeism? Here's what you can do about it...
How to clean: in the kitchen
- Regularly wash and sterilise kitchen rags, dishcloths, scrubbing brushes and sponges and soak them in disinfectant to kill off bacteria. (Damp cloths and sponges are the perfect breeding ground for germs!)
- Clean up any spills and messes as they arise to avoid stains and damage.
- After cleaning countertops with surface cleaner, be sure to wipe the surface with a sanitising spray or solution for added protection against bacteria.
- Ensure that frequently used kitchen appliances, such as the kettle, toaster and microwave are wiped down with a sanitising spray or sanitising wipes to prevent the spread of germs.
- Don’t let the dishes pile up, as leftover food and debris can attract pests.
- Wash floors with a mild detergent, and add disinfectant to the solution.
- Wash bins on a monthly basis to prevent any bacteria build up.
- For commercial kitchens, ensure that a regular deep clean service is implemented. Debris, greases, fat deposits and scale easily build up and aren’t effectively cleaned by daily cleaning services.
How to clean: in the bathroom
- Always make sure that toilets are flushed with the lid down. This is important because flushing the toilet creates aerosols that mimic the explosive action of sneezing. These microscopic droplets contain harmful faecal matter.
- Properly brief your office cleaning company or cleaning staff are on the daily areas that need cleaning; toilets, floors, basins, taps and door handles, and that proper sterilising agents and cleaning supplies are being used.
- To guarantee the best hygiene standards, ensure that each toilet cubicle contains an alcohol based toilet seat sanitizer so that toilet seats, door -and flush handles - can be thoroughly wiped by each bathroom visitor.
- Ensure that extractor fans or windows are made use of to ensure that any malodours can be released from the air supply.
- Furthermore, the use of air fresheners will allow for a pleasant smelling bathroom which will leave bathroom visitors with peace of mind and a positive bathroom experience.
- Sanitary bins need to be frequently tended to, and wiped down with a disinfectant solution.
Ensure that the filters of hand drying units are regularly changed to prevent the spread of airborne germs.
- As with kitchens, bacteria and uric scale build up over time in toilet bowls, which the tools and products used by your daily cleaners are not equipped to deal with, in which case you would consider professional bathroom deep cleaning to ensure that optimal hygiene standards are met.
- Very important: remind employees about the importance of handwashing: Many people don’t wash their hands properly after using the bathroom which leads to cross contamination in the office.
How to clean: at your desk
- Ensure that your desk is regularly wiped down with a mild detergent, followed by a sanitising solution.
- Regularly wipe your laptop, mouse and keyboard with sanitising wipes, as these are what you most come into contact with at your desk.
- Routinely empty bins; your leftover lunch may attract pests, and lead to a pest infestation.
- Eat lunch at your company’s pause area or canteen to prevent food debris and crumbs from getting caught up your keyboard.
- A techno hygiene service does wonders to thoroughly clean office equipment; you’ll be very surprised (and shocked) to discover what lurks between your keyboard buttons!
A few more Office Cleaning tips to keep in mind
- Shared office equipment: office appliances and supplies that are shared amongst employees eg. the office printer and copier, and other stationery, need to be wiped down with cleaning products and sanitiser to prevent cross contamination.
- High traffic areas: consider areas that receive a lot of traffic - for instance the lobby or reception points - and ensure that door handles, access buttons, and reception counters are routinely sanitised.
- Set up schedules for cleaning staff: if you are contracting a cleaning company, or making use of cleaning staff, ensure that expectations are set when it comes to the above mentioned areas that need to be cleaned and disinfected. Ensure that kitchens, bathrooms, communal areas and equipment are cleaned at stated intervals.
Even though many of your office cleaning duties are looked after by cleaning companies, and / or staff, good hygiene practices are everyone’s responsibility. Regular hand washing is the first step to preventing the spread of bacteria in the office; a clean office is a healthy office!
DID YOU KNOW: 15 October is Global Handwashing Day, an annual opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of proper handwashing habits to help prevent the spread of infection and reduce sickness.