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The scary truth about office hygiene

Take back control of your workspace with these 4 tips

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Yes indeed, the big spring clean is about to happen. But luckily you hired a cleaner for your organisation, right? One that brings a breath of fresh air in the office weekly. Great. But don’t you remember the tough contract negotiations? And your focus on only paying for the essentials?

Favourite spots for bacteria

A computer mouse harbours three times more germs than a toilet handle. Three times more! But that’s nothing compared to the other spots bacteria like to live. Did you know:

  • The average work desk is actually 400 times dirtier than the average toilet seat. Shocked? There are in fact around 10 million bacteria that live on your office desk.
  • Approximately 80% of common infections are transmitted by touch. That means that germs are probably spread every time you touch something in the office.
  • The average computer keyboard harbours around 7500 bacteria and 11% of office workers never clean them! Less than half of people only sanitise their keyboard less than once a month. It has been said that viruses such as the flu can survive on such surfaces for up to and sometimes even more than 24 hours!
  • Your telephone, keyboard and computer mouse are the most common spots for bacteria? And all other items you touch the most throughout the day…

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Let’s break the good news: You can do something about it! And can you imagine a better start than the big spring clean?

1. Communicate the facts

Not all your colleagues know the horrific facts about their own desk. Time to change that! Start a campaign, communicate the facts and ensure that no one is missing knowledge about the office as a breeding ground for coughing, sniffling and infections. Writing one single e-mail to address this is not enough to tackle cross-contamination. Office hygiene requires continuous attention - not only during the big spring clean. Demand regular attention for the issue in your newsletters, organise informative posters and come up with new facts. Time after time.

2. Provide helpful solutions

People with messy desks are brilliant: they are creative, open to ideas and they achieve lots with their colleagues. Brilliant or not, though, a cluttered desk is a danger zone of (re)infection for you and your colleagues. Thus, clean desks are the next step to a healthy workplace: good riddance, right? Encourage your colleagues by providing:

  • (lockable) storage space;
  • a rubbish bin and tissues for each desk;
  • a personal calendar to remind people of weekly cleaning day;
  • and adequate cleaning products.

And last but not least: Outsmart the flu using a flexible approach to homeworking. Avoid a domino-effect!

3. Increase the involvement of colleagues

Did you know that one in 10 workers believes their health has been compromised by poor workplace hygiene? All the more reason to unleash a real cleaning vibe today! Activate colleagues to play their part for better office hygiene by starting a clean desk challenge or promoting healthy habits, such as clean desks, weekly clean-ups, no food at desks and washing hands regularly. Sounds simple!

4. Evaluate the cleaning contract

Do you remember exactly what was agreed in the cleaning contract? The places with the highest average of bacteria are strangely enough often forgotten in the cleaning contract. Time for a refresh, we think! So, evaluate your contract. To what extent does it still meet your needs? Are the current requirements adequately covered now? Are the following areas included?

Companies that make the well-being of employees a priority have lower absenteeism rates, increased productivity and lower staff turnover. Because let's face it, everybody wants a clean and healthy workplace, right?

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