How Office Hygiene can Impact Your Health

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March 3, 2014
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How Office Hygiene can Impact Your Health

shutterstock_125068052Considering how much time is actually spent at the workplace, ensuring a germ-free environment should be on the priority list for everyone. We all know about the importance of good hygiene but how many people practice this in the workplace?

There is nothing worse than working with someone who is sick, especially when you work in a confined space. It can take just one individual to cripple an entire workforce through bad hygiene – simply not covering your mouth while sneezing can spray a virus through an entire room.

It is easy to reduce the exposure and minimise the impact to your health (and that of your co-workers) during the flu season with these easy-to-follow steps.

  • Most importantly, if you are genuinely sick then do your co-workers a favour by keeping your germs to yourself and don’t come to work. While soldiering on can seem like a noble thing to do, infecting the entire workplace isn’t exactly productive.
  • All employers should have a simple set of workplace hygiene procedures and ensure ALL staff understand what is required of them. These should include policies regarding personal hygiene and a list of regular cleaning duties for desks, office kitchens and rest rooms. This sets a basic standard of hygiene and cleanliness within the office environment. Ideally you will have a professional cleaning services, as they will do a much better job than someone who is only thinking about going home at the end of the day.
  • Germs travel easily, especially when the find the perfect breeding ground. Confined spaces or areas that are used frequently, such as restroom door handles and telephones, are often loaded with nasties waiting to make you sick.  Restricting germs and reducing the chance of a virus spreading can be a simple process when proper measures are taken.
  • Regardless of what industry you work in, always remember to regularly wash your hands! This should be done before and after eating or preparing food, sneezing or coughing, using public items (elevator buttons, telephones etc.) or using restroom facilities. A thorough wash with soap or hand sanitizer drastically reduces the chances of a person getting sick or unknowingly spread germs. If you can’t wash your hands immediately, avoid touching the nose, eyes or mouth until you can sanitise.
  • Keep your work area clean. No matter what kind of office environment you work in, keeping your space clean will help keep you healthier.  Wipe the area regularly and remember to never eat at your desk as food can breed bacteria. As some germs can live on a surface for over 24 hours, keeping workstations and commonly used areas clean is essential for a healthy office.
  • Invest in some travel size products (such as tissues, sanitiser or wet wipes) for your briefcase or handbag to save yourself in germ-rich situations.

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