Dan Childs of ABC News ran a story on a UK report investigating office cleanliness. The small-scale study found that office equipment, specifically the keyboard and mouse, potentially harbors dangerous bacteria, such as E-coli and staph. Disturbing? Yes. Surprising? Not really.
Most office workers have stories about witnessing unclean-behavior in the workplace, whether in the washrooms, kitchens or even at their desks. While it may be a touchy subject to bring up the accountant who doesn’t wash her hands or the salesperson who has been sick for weeks, but doesn’t cover his mouth, the effects could lead to increased sick days all around, not to mention lower productivity.
It’s important to promote a clean workplace, if not for the likely health benefits, than for the basic fact that no one wants to work in a dirty office. Here are a few tips on how to promote a clean workplace:
Keep a stock of cleaning supplies. Having a few bottles of glass and surface cleaner around will go a long way to keeping desks and keyboards germ-free. Also, a few bottles of hand sanitizer will also promote clean hands. This is a helpful and inexpensive way to generate cleanliness.
Send sick workers home. Promptly send home workers who are obviously too ill to remain in the workplace. If a worker insists he/she can still work, provide that person with a “teleworker’s kit” of record keeping, etc., and ask him/her to work from home until a health practitioner determines his/her illness is over.
Promote hygiene. Encourage workers to wash their hands frequently throughout the workday and avoid touching nose, mouth and eyes. This is especially helpful during the cold and flu season.
Notify the cleaning crew. Ask the cleaning crew to wipe keyboards, phones and door handles with disinfectant cleaner daily.