The importance of office hygiene

Office cleaning

We spend a large portion of our lives within our workspace and the average office worker totals 8 hours a day within the building. With this in mind, it is imperative to maintain proper hygiene at work.

We all know the importance of keeping a clean home, but with even more traffic going in and out of our offices each day it is even more crucial to keep germs at bay to keep staff and visitors healthy.

GCC Facilities Management, who offers commercial cleaning services are here to show you why office hygiene should be at the forefront of every business’s mind and how you can avoid the spread of nasty bugs and viruses within the workplace.

Why is Office Hygiene Important?

Studies have proven that a clean working environment can boost productivity, no one wants to work in an unsanitary environment. Looking after mental health is an element every employer should be looking after and this is a great place to start.

By providing a pleasant workspace, employees will be happier and therefore more likely to produce the quality of work we seek from them. Although professional cleaning will make this easier, there are a few steps you can take to make sure employees are helping contribute to this.

Workstations should be provided to accommodate the work undertaken. Small desks can quickly become cluttered with paper or tools so supply storage, such as draws or trays and this can make a big difference.

Ensure there are plenty of waste and recycling bins, even in a small office, these can begin to overflow quickly and present unpleasant sights and smells and few people are willing to take on the responsibility of emptying them throughout the working day. The more available, the less likely they are to overflow.

Physical health can be impacted by poor hygiene. Germs spread quickly throughout places of work and with the impending threat of coronavirus throughout the world, it is more important than ever to prevent this.

”Surfaces and equipment can harbour dirt, viruses, and bacteria that can remain active for months. Without regular office cleaning and good personal hygiene – e.g. antibacterial hand washing – there’s an increased chance of these surface germs transferring to you and giving you illnesses like flu, food poisoning, and diarrhoea.

“If you fall ill, it’s best to take time off work to fully recover and reduce the chance of any harmful germs spreading to your colleagues.”  Dr. Arun Thiyagarajan, the Health Clinics Medical Director of Bupa UK

Lastly, your business may be frequented by visiting clients and suppliers and it is increasingly important to make a good impression. A clean and tidy workspace reflects a respectable company and you could be at risk of losing business if this is not maintained.

Word spreads quickly throughout industries and if one company sees you as unreputable, others may too.

The Dirtiest Office Items

You may think toilets or kitchen sinks are the dirtiest areas in the office but studies have shown they are far from it. Many areas are often neglected simply because they ‘look’ clean, but they are actually harbouring germs and pose a risk to you and your staff.

1.   The Water Cooler

Estimated to have an average of 2.7 million germs per square inch on the spigot. This is often missed during a cleaning session as it is not touched by human hands and therefore seen as ‘clean’.

2.   The Fridge

Already seen as a horror story by many employees, we can’t control what is placed in there and many are reluctant to clean up their own spillages from food containers.

The average office fridge contains 7,850 germs per square centimetre and many of these can come from meat, dairy, and other food products that pose the risk of food poisoning.

3.   Desks

A recent study by GCC Facilities Management revealed 11% of office desks are never cleaned. These contain an average of 10 million germs over its surface, which is 400 times more than the average toilet seat.

As most employees spend the largest portion of their day sitting at their desks, it is imperative these are cleaned often.

4.   Computer Mouse

The same study from GCCFM also showed that 36% of our computer mice have never seen any kind of cleaning product.

We touch our computer mice hundreds of times a day but with over 1,600 germs per square inch, it may be time to start changing our cleaning habits.

5.   Keyboards

Just like our computer mice, our keyboards are being forgotten in the cleaning routine. The average keyboard has three times more bacteria than a public toilet seat.

With so many cracks and crevices for bacteria to hide teamed with the numerous times we touch these, it is no wonder colds and flu spreads so quickly throughout the workforce.

A daily wipe-down with antibacterial products is highly important on office keyboards.

6.    Telephones

Held closely to our mouths and often shared throughout members of staff, telephones are one of the most dangerous objects when it comes to germs spreading. GCCFM revealed 28% of office phones have never been cleaned.

“The findings show that desk cleanliness is easily neglected, despite the health risks that it carries and the knock-on effects it could have for businesses in terms of sickness, reduced capacity, and absences.

More needs to be done to firstly raise awareness of the health risks that dirtier working surfaces can have amongst office workers and secondly, businesses should take more action to ensure that their staff is working in a clean and healthy environment.” Claire Maclean, Managing Director of GCC Facilities Management.

Hiring professional cleaners can dramatically reduce these risks to your staff while also alleviating precious man-hours taken to carry out these practices within your employees. However, it is not always possible to do so.

By ensuring cleaning products are readily available to make maintaining hygiene easier, such as antibacterial wipes and gel, your staff is far more likely to use these and help increase proper sanitation in the office.