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How to improve office hygiene

Our hygiene habits at work are extremely important to our health, and the health of those around us. 

Researchers using tracer viruses from the American Society of Microbiology found that contamination of just a single doorknob or table top can result in the spread of viruses throughout office buildings, hotels and health care facilities. Within two to four hours, the virus was detectable on 40% to 60% of workers, visitors and commonly touched objects.

Hand hygiene

Good hand hygiene is one of the most important ways to help minimise the spread of germs in the office. In a recent study, 50% of workers admitted having left the washroom without washing their hands due to poor washroom facilities. Providing a good washroom experience can have a direct impact on hygiene behaviours.

  • Ensure good hand washing practices with awareness campaigns and notices in common areas and points-of-need
  • Clean taps and soap dispensers regularly to help reduce surface cross-contamination. Consider touch-free hand wash facilities to minimise contact
  • Provide appropriate solutions to encourage good hand drying practices. Damp hands spread 1000 times more bacteria than dry hands

Cubicle hygiene

Germs can spread easily through the air when toilets are flushed without the lid closed. Within 60 seconds of a toilet being flushed the average sized washroom can be covered with bacteria, urine and fecal matter. Managing the germs, scale and bacteria build up within the toilet can help reduce the risk of germs spreading.

  • Toilet seats should be sanitised regularly, preferably by users, to reduce the risk of cross-contamination
  • Toilet flush handles should be cleaned several times a day
  • All female washrooms should be well provisioned with feminine hygiene facilities

Common areas

A recent study by Intial found that 32% of office workers sometimes or always hot desk and 49% eat at their desks. The potential for cross-contamination is high as germs from the washroom are spread by contaminated hands and transferred to desks, office equipment and food.

  • Encouraged colleagues who hot-desk to wipe down the keyboard, mouse, phone and surfaces before using these work stations. Shared desks are often neglected and can have a build-up of germs and contamination
  • Clean and regularly disinfect all food surfaces (in kitchens and eating areas) to reduce the risk of cross-contamination via contact with food
  • Install hand sanitisers in locations of high footfall and common use