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September 2017

Office hygiene checklist: what every office needs

Written by Lemay Rogers
Workplace Hygiene

Hygiene is unlikely to be the core function of your business but it certainly is a critical factor in terms of your employees’ productivity.

Absenteeism costs the South African economy R12 - R16 billion per year. This number seems inconceivable but to bring it closer to home, that equates to an estimated 17% of your payroll being lost every year. Find out how absenteeism affects your business.

A good hygiene strategy - which minimises cross contamination - is one of the primary ways to curb absenteeism. This is because cross contamination is one of the main causes of workplace illness and thus a top contributor to absenteeism.

What are the absolute hygiene MUST HAVES for your office?  

Here is a checklist to help you assess and then implement a hygiene strategy.


80% of infectious diseases are transferred by touch. Washing your hands regularly with soap for at least 20 seconds can minimise cross contamination and the spread of germs.

Paper or dryer

An element of hygiene often underestimated is hand drying.  For the record, I’d like to state that wiping your hands half heartedly on your pants isn’t deemed to be hand drying. You need to dry your hands properly to prevent germs multiplying, as damp hands are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

Whether you prefer paper or a hand dryer, drying your hands is just as important as washing them.

Hand sanitiser

Hand sanitiser is one of my favourite items in the hygiene arsenal as you can sanitise your hands anywhere, any time. Some of the high risk areas you need to be aware of are the fingerprint scanner, the kitchen (including fridge doors and microwave handles) and the front door.

Having a hand sanitiser mounted at these points serves as a great reminder to sanitise your hands regularly, and encourages your colleagues to do so too.  

An extra benefit of hand sanitiser is that it can be used in situations where one is unable to get to a tap, or when water is scarce, so your colleagues in Cape Town are protected even in the case of a water shortages.

Surface / equipment sanitiser

To further limit cross contamination it’s important to sanitise office surfaces such as counter tops, desks and similar surfaces. Whilst these are easy to assign to your daily cleaner, remember to provide them with sufficient training and the right tools for the job to ensure that they are cleaning surfaces properly.  

You need to educate your daily cleaner on cross contamination and employ a colour coded cloth and bucket regime to stop cross contamination, for example, from the bathroom to the kitchen by using the same cloth to wipe the toilet seat and the kettle handle.

You may be a bit more nervous about your electronic equipment,  like laptops, phones, photocopiers and PCs.  If you prefer to do this in house it’s important to provide proper training to daily cleaners, but I would recommend you get a professional techno hygiene service done on a regular basis.  

Deep clean

Have you heard of the sneeze effect?  It is a term used to describe the spread of toilet water (and it’s germs) when you flush without closing the toilet lid.  Watch this video to illustrate how quickly germs can spread throughout your bathroom.

I’m sure that you’ll never leave the seat up again, but there is no guarantee that your colleagues will share your sentiment.

By doing a regular deep clean on your toilets, urinals and basins you can eliminate the germs which thrive on limescale buildup. It is important to mention that daily cleaners do not have the equipment or chemicals required to provide this service, and it should be carried out by a professional hygiene provider.  

At Initial we have taken it one step further and now offer a holistic approach to deep cleaning by including an antibacterial fogging treatment helping you combat the residue deposited by the sneeze effect.

In summary, here is your list of must haves;

  1. Hand soap
  2. Hand paper or hand dryer
  3. Hand sanitiser
  4. Surface/equipment sanitiser
  5. Deep Clean

If you would like a copy of this checklist (with a little something extra) we'll be happy to send you a copy. Just click below. 

Email me this checklist

Contact Initial for a review of your office hygiene and to find out how we can help with your office hygiene needs.

Contact us

Lemay Rogers

Lemay Rogers

Lémay Rogers is the Marketing Manager for Rentokil Initial. When not contributing to the Initial blog, she is the custodian of all things Marketing for Rentokil Initial South Africa, and supports the Sub-Saharan African businesses. As a frequent traveller AND mother of a toddler, she is all too aware of how easily germs can travel with us, from one location to another and then back to our homes. Follow Lémay on Twitter and LinkedIn for practical advice on good hygiene practices, both at home and in the workplace.

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