How to Control Germs in the Office

germs

Are you doing enough to control germs in your office? If you stop for a moment and listen, you’ll likely hear employees sneezing, coughing and sniffling, especially this time of year. Every sneeze and cough sends germs cascading through the air, putting everyone at risk for getting sick. Americans lose 22 million sick days every year and that costs your business money. To win the germ war in your office, try some of our simple suggestions.

Office Germ “Hot Spots”

Knowing where germs live is half the battle. The average office worker touches dozens of potentially contaminated surfaces every hour of the day. Experts say that desk tops, drawer handles, computer keyboards/mice and office telephones are often more contaminated than restroom seats. Doorknobs and water fountain handles are downright dangerous. In the kitchen, the worst offenders are faucet handles, refrigerator doors, microwave keypads and vending machines. Even the coffee pot handle is a hotbed for germ growth. Be sure to thoroughly clean all these surfaces with disinfectant to cut down on the risk of spreading germs.

Engage Your Staff to Win the Germ War

Without exception, hands are the guiltiest germ spreaders in the office. Here is where your staff can make a big difference in the fight against germs. Hang “Healthy Hands” posters in break rooms, restrooms and kitchens. Provide hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes at every workstation and install hand sanitizer dispensers in prominent locations. Finally, promote healthy habits with wellness programs and hygiene training. It may seem obvious, but it helps to remind employees to cover their sneezes and coughs, to avoid touching their faces and to wash their hands frequently.

Conquering the Germs on Multiple Fronts

Employee hygiene is a great place to start, but you’ll need to take a few more steps to ward off germs in the office. Launch a full-scale campaign to clean keyboards, mice, doorknobs and other “hot spots” regularly. Mandate weekly kitchen clean-out sessions, where any stray food is disposed of from both the refrigerator and cabinets. Keep briefcases, backpacks and handbags (all huge germ-magnets) off desks, conference tables and other surfaces that may be exposed to hands. Never allow “presenteeism” in your office. Require sick employees to work from home. If that’s not possible, ensure they maintain maximum distance from other employees, practice proper and frequent hygiene, and thoroughly clean all surfaces with which they come in contact. Finally, kill germs by having your office cleaned and sanitized daily by a professional cleaning service. Cleaning companies use the best practices and most powerful cleansing techniques to control germs in your office, keeping you and your staff healthy and productive.