Dirty Office

What You Don’t See Can Hurt You!

Keep a dirty office and suffer woes that extend beyond those you might imagine. Sure, your productivity will take a hit. Your reputation might, too. But did you know an unkempt workspace could also make you ill?

So confirms a recent study out of the UK that warns that people who work in offices that are not kept to a hygienic standard put themselves at risk of picking up viruses from their surroundings that could land them in a sick bed.

The news is particularly relevant at this time of year, as the world hunkers down for the usual onslaught of cold-and-flu-season-induced illness, and the inevitable spate of absence that follows.

The study found that office-thriving creepy-crawlies occupy carpets, desk surfaces, phones, computer screens and almost two-thirds of computer keyboards—some in such numbers that mould had formed underneath.

Concerned office workers might adopt some strategies to combat this bacteria-strewn reality. Some suggestions:

• Introduce systems to the workplace that pick up where your cleaning service leaves off. Colour-coding cloths, for example—red for sensitive areas like the washroom, green for general-purpose cleaning and blue for glass—sets the stage for improved health at the office.

• Remember that germs are spread by hand contact. Take care that light switches, door handles and phones are being cleaned regularly.

• Hire a cleaning firm you can trust. A dependable, dedicated service with a reputation for attention to detail and an appreciation for the role it plays in fending off health risks among office workers is worth its weight in gold. Ask your cleaner whether they bring cloths from other jobs into the facility, or if they can assure you that only dedicated cloths are employed on your site.