Office hygiene is of utmost importance on any given day, but unfortunately, employers often lose grasp of it as their focus continually shifts and they prioritise other policies. Improving and maintaining office hygiene (especially when managing a lot of employees) can be challenging. We can often forget about cleanliness when we’re busy in meetings, managing and chasing emails, but we’ve compiled a helpful guide on how to help hygiene in the workplace.
Office hygiene facts
First off, let’s start with some startling facts when it comes to germs around the office.
- The average desk contains 400 times more germs than a toilet seat
- 67% of workers have lunch at their desk
- The phone on an office desk typically harbours the most germs with an average 25,127 germs per square inch
- One person carrying a virus will infect 50% of all employees and equipment in their vicinity in just four hours
- 20% of workers never clean their computer mice
- 80% of infections are spread by contact with contaminated surfaces, not coughing or sneezing
- UK workers lose on average 9.1 days due to sickness per year
Personal hygiene at work
Knowing how easily germs can be transferred, it’s so important to make sure personal hygiene is maintained. Have company policies on hygiene in place that are up-to-date and handed out regularly to remind employees what is expected of them. Personal hygiene of employees can be a sensitive issue but if you outline it clearly in policies and presentations in the context of health and safety, then it will be taken more seriously. Criteria can include, grooming, using deodorant, washing hands regularly etc.
Ways to improve workplace hygiene
Personal hygiene is one thing, but to help prevent the spread of germs, bacteria or viruses, there are a number of ways to help keep on top of cleanliness.
- If you don’t have a cleaning service already, it may be worth investing in one as regular cleaning of workstations, toilets and communal areas are needed as well as deep cleans of toilets
- Update hygiene policies by clearly outlining expectations of staff, for instance, each staff member could be in charge of regularly cleaning their own desk and should be given their own pack of antibacterial wipes to keep germs at bay
- If employees eat at their desk, make sure it’s part of the hygiene policy or communicated effectively that they must clean and wipe down before and after eating
- Put a schedule together to keep up with stock on toiletries. You never want to leave the office without hand wash, toilet roll or sanitisers etc. Include female sanitisation in this to make sure females are well provided for with regular sanitary bin disposal
- Have an alternating rota for employees to change office bins, wash up and for kitchen duties. This will make it fairer and set a high cleaning standard in the office, reassuring staff that cleaning is always kept on top of
- Have hand sanitiser available around the office and antibacterial wipes. Having them easily accessible will constantly remind employees to clean and be more proactive with their hygiene
- Don’t forget about fridges, office phones, door handles, photocopiers, printers and any other communal equipment. If you hire a cleaning service, make sure they are cleaning these down or make your own schedule for employees to regularly wipe them down
- Share the facts on office hygiene! Letting your employees see the alarming facts is enough for encouragement. Either send them alongside the hygiene policy, in a presentation or post an infographic up on a communal wall
The future of office hygiene innovations
Unless you were living under a rock in 2020, you will know how COVID-19 impacted many businesses and industries. This pandemic accelerated many office hygiene innovation ideas, making engineers think more about how to improve hygiene and to tackle germs and viruses in the workplace to make them safer.
One clever piece of office hygiene technology is the self-cleaning door handle, Touch 1 from Tweaq.
Along with updated policies and accessible sanitisers, a smart office hygiene innovation like this can improve and make an office more COVID-secure.
Giovanni Barilla, CEO at Tweaq, also notes on other office hygiene innovations to come: “Hand sanitisers can work on sensors or foot pedals. Keyless entry will replace locks on doors and shared appliances will be controlled via an app rather than using physical buttons.
“Desks are being equipped with devices to provide IoT connectivity in order to inform other employees when they are in use – improving office efficiency and comfortability.
“IoT and AI are becoming key, and combining them with hygienic solutions is the future. Businesses do not expect COVID-19 to go away any time soon, and so they need to be prepared. The goal is to bring back employees to the office, and keep them there. Use of facial recognition is also on the up too.”
“Offices can display distance markers across office floors as well as more signage to encourage personal hygiene standards and appropriate social distancing – similar to those currently used in supermarkets [use a good guide to social distancing in the workplace and office]. Signs pointing towards cleaning points will also be used so all employees are aware of where they can sanitise equipment or their hands. Old-style office cubicles may also return in the form of perspex partitions between desks.”
How you set up your office space should take workplace hygiene into consideration. If you’re planning on adding more communal spaces, kitchen areas and meeting pods, we can help with a range of materials and surfaces. From office planning, office interior design, layout to the finished product, we begin the conversation with your needs in mind.