The health and well-being of employees is of vital importance to any company. In order to do their bit, companies must place maintain cleanliness and hygiene in the workplace. With so many people coming in and out of offices each day, they quickly become breeding grounds for many bacteria that can negatively impact employee health and your own, as well as hamper productivity.
Not many are aware of this and continue to use public equipment and appliances in and around the office without realizing they are exposing themselves to dirt and infection on a daily basis.
Creating awareness is the first and foremost step is protecting the workforce from any potential harm to their health.
Here are the top 5 dirtiest places in the office you need to be aware of so you can take precaution:
1. Keyboards and Telephones
Not surprisingly, these office items find their way right at the top of this list, and with good reason. For instance, research shows that the keyboard contains up to 10 million bacteria. People don’t usually wash their hands or use a sanitizer before using a keyboard.
The same is the case with telephones. Used so close to the mouth, they often carry people’s spit and probably the same amount of germs as a toilet seat. In fact, studies say roughly 25000 germs per square inch make their home on the telephones at the workplace. Handled by multiple people, these surfaces are open to public sneezes, cough and a host of bacteria.
2. Microwave and Refrigerator Door Handles
This might make you cringe the next time you heat your lunch at the office. How many people in the office do you know who wash their hands before using either of these electronic appliances? None. Which is why microwave and refrigerator handles are havens for germs, all carried from food stains, spills, and other sticky elements.
To add to these, kitchen countertops and other surfaces around are equally heavy carriers of germs and bacteria. The coffee break room, smoking room, kitchen, wash basins, and the sink are all prone to gathering dirt. Do not forget to wash your hands or sanitize them after touching any of these surfaces.
3. Water Fountain Buttons
Water fountain buttons are the least expected places to be considered dirty, and yet, studies show that these appliances carry an average of 2.7 million bacteria per square inch. Used by a large number of people on a daily basis and with great frequency, it is no surprise that water fountain buttons are home to many germs.
There is a solution to these threats. You can carry your own water bottle to the workplace. If using the water fountain for refilling, use a tissue while handling it and clean your hands immediately after using it.
4. Elevator Buttons
Used by possibly hundreds of people on a daily basis, elevator buttons could not avoid this list. If there is any place which is an active breeder of germs and bacteria, it is the elevator. Avoid using fingertips while operating the buttons on the elevator and use your knuckles instead. Avoid touching and leaning on the walls of the elevator. Think of how many fingers have touched those buttons and walls and you will be less inclined to make direct contact with the same. Sanitize your hands immediately.
This is a no-brainer. Toilets are definitely the most contaminated of all the dirty places. Use caution when using. Make a habit of touching around the flush knob, tap, and doorknobs with a toilet paper or a paper towel. Avoid flushing the toilet without the seat down. Doing otherwise can risk spreading the bacteria on the toilet seat and up throughout the air, which essentially means the germs would be flying all around. Wash hands rigorously with soap, and wash them twice to be on the safe side.
Thinking of all these common places as germ-laden would fill anybody with disgust. There is, however, a way to avoid these germs, or at least minimize your contact with them.
With a little effort, these places can be kept clean and employees safeguarded from being infected and falling sick. Here are some tips to adopt for self-care:
- Wash your hands regularly and after being in touch with dirty objects
- Avoid making contact with your face, eyes, nose, or mouth when you’re in the office. If you can, stick to this rule even when you are out in any other public place
- Bring your own cutlery, plates and mugs to the workplace
- Use paper towels or disinfectant wipes to use high-contact items in the break room, washroom, etc.
- Use toilet seat spray or toilet seat paper before using the toilet
- Place sanitizer in all possible areas – pantry, coffee break room, reception
- Stay home when you fall sick to avoid spreading illness to others in the office