Germs are inevitable to avoid and working environments are no exception.
Mostly used in shared areas such an office, library and hotels, the desk is where everything happens. It is used early mornings to late nights for business meetings, studies, lunches, and customized to fit personal themes. Because of the activity level, desktops are a breeding zone for germs.
According to a 2002 study conducted by the University of Arizona, the typical desk surface has 400 times more bacteria than an office toilet seat.
While desktops have an average of 21,000 germs per square inch, office telephones rank higher with 25,000 germs in an average square inch on the receiver. (CNN) In addition, the skin sheds 10 million cells a day which easily transfer among persons through office surfaces.
Result? Your work environment can cause illnesses.
Office germ related illnesses range from colds to occupational asthma and sick-building syndrome which cause asthmatic symptoms, headaches, fatigue and nausea. Illnesses are caused by various agents found within the workplace.
Attending work while sick, also known as ‘presenteeism’, also causes circulation of germs as cold and flu viruses can survive up to 3 days on surfaces. (CNN) Presenteeism is such a health risk that it affects workplace losses as high as $150-250 billion annually.
While many of us keep our desktops neat, we do not clean it as often. According to Clorox, there are levels of cleaning goals. Cleaning removes visible particles while sanitizing reduces the amount of surface bacteria. However, the best solution to cleaning is disinfecting, which destroys common bacteria and fungi on surfaces.
Here are ways to reduce office bacteria and its attack on you:
- Rid of the candy bowls. With the average person in an office touching about 300 surfaces every 30 minutes, and shedding over 10 million cells, imagine the germ attack on your hand as you search for your favorite candy bar.
- No eating. At your desk at least, the germs can cause a serious stomach bug. If you must, a placemat can reduce the desk-to-food contact that a simple napkin cannot.
- Think clean; a simple soap and hot water wipe down will do. Regularly clean desk and keep disinfectants handy to eliminate the amount of germs breeding at your desk.
- Use disinfecting wipes, not baby wipes. Baby wipes move germs around and create a warm environment for germs to grow.
- 5. Don’t forget to wash your hands AND sing happy birthday, twice! It’s the ultimate rule of preventing all germ transportation of any kind, but proper hand washing takes about 20-24 seconds.
- 6. Use your elbows. Coughing in elbows versus hand decreases the chances of transmission.
- 7. Stay home or Go home. Avoid going to work when symptoms of sickness such as sore throat, aches and nausea exist, return when temperature is below 100 and able to hold down food.
Defenses against office germs also take innovative approaches with tools such as the Germ Genie, which uses ultraviolet light to sanitize works stations.
At Officense, we maintain a continuously cleaned environment. Conference rooms and offices are cleaned after every meeting to provide an environment conducive for our clients to conduct business cost effectively.