The 5 Office Hygiene Factors You Need to Consider

4th September 2018

Office hygiene is without a doubt aspect that all employers should think about. While everyone has their own personal hygiene routines at home, it’s important to conform to office standards to ensure you and your colleagues are able to work in a safe and clean working environment.

You might be surprised to hear that every time your type, touch your keyboard, mouse, desk, pen or whatever office equipment you’re using, you’re spreading germs. Pretty scary, right? This is made even worse if you’re travelling by bus or any mode of public transport because the germs you pick up along the way are then transported to your office environment. Even something as simple as pressing a button on a traffic light can spread germs.

Did you know that the average work desk is said to be roughly 100x dirtier than a kitchen table and 300x dirtier than a toilet seat?

Pretty concerning stuff, right?

In this article, we’re going to be looking at ways to ensure your office complies with the standard and regulatory HR codes of conduct. It’s simple stuff but it can have a huge impact on office productivity and hygiene.

  1. Wash your hands more often

Yes, it’s obvious but criminally ignored. If you’re taking public transport to work, it’s especially important to wash your hands as soon as you get in. Germs are spread so easily and washing your hands takes seconds – so do it! Many people are now buying mini anti-bacterial handwashes for their desks, to help remind them to wash their hands.

  1. Maintain a positive airflow

Something else that must abide by HR codes of conduct is positive airflow. If all the windows in your office or workspace are closed, the only air that will be circulating is germ-filled air. It might be tempting to turn the heating up and close the windows during winter, but not only will these increase the likelihood of germs spreading, but the condensation caused will damage the property’s interior and impact workflow!

If your staff are working in stuffy, humid air, it will only increase the build-up of spores, dust mites and even encourage allergic reactions. Consider investing in regular window cleaning services to help eliminate dust or debris that may be attached to windows.

  1. Be wary of damp

Damp is every home and commercial property owner’s nightmare. Damp is notorious for causing structural imperfections and hiding in places where you wouldn’t think to look. Not only is it unsightly, but the longer you leave it, the worse it gets. Damp is usually spotted near water mains, such as sinks, showers and toilets – so be sure to check here first. Another notable area is the ceiling, especially if the property has not been effectively damp-proofed and insulated. You may find that after heavy rainfall, your roof may have collected water and if there is nowhere for the water to exit (like a gutter) it will sit there and slowly but surely seep its way into the ceiling. Eventually, it will reach the interior of the property and this is where health and safety concerns are raised.

If you do notice damp, it’s important to contact your HR department, who will likely call for a plumber to inspect the drains and any surrounding areas of concern.

  1. Bathroom and kitchens need extra attention!

Another obvious port of call is bathrooms and kitchens. Arguably the places where you’ll find the most germs, these areas need to be routinely cleaned and inspected to ensure they’re up to the expected standards.

You might be surprised to hear that kitchens require more attention that bathrooms, and here’s why. Kitchens are used to make and prepare food, which usually sees food remnants being left on counters. Depending on how many people use the kitchen in your office these food remnants can hang around and collect bacteria. For example, if someone leaves a chopping board out and they’ve been cutting raw chicken and someone else then uses it, they’re at risk of picking up salmonella – which can be fatal. This is why it’s so important to maintain a clean kitchen in the workplace.

Bathrooms, on the other hand, are also important. A quick clean at the end of each day is expected. It’s the simple stuff, wash down floors and sanitise the obvious areas to ensure the spread of bacteria is minimised. Concept Cubicles state, If your office uses newer toilet cubicles, these should be far easier to clean due to their simple design.

  1. Carry out a Legionella risk assessment

One of the most neglected duties in offices is carrying out a Legionella risk assessment. Legionella is the name given to a subtle, but deadly bacteria that forms in large-scale water systems, commonly found within commercial properties. If left untreated, it can cause three potentially fatal diseases, collectively known as Legionellosis.

The disease is spread by these water systems, which is why carrying out a Legionella risk control is so important. Legionella can be found in these common systems:

  • Showerheads and sinks
  • Air ventilation systems
  • Hot tubs that are neglected and not cleaned
  • Hot water tanks

Legionella can form in any man-made water system, so be sure to source a reputable company to carry out a Legionella check to ensure your office’s water systems are safe. The assessment itself is completed in 10 days and you will receive your certificate of approval roughly 2 weeks after the samples were collected.

Book professional office cleaners once in a while

Sometimes regular hoovering and wiping dust off is simply not enough. Most office uses carpet or carpet tiles as their floor covering and fabrics can get dirty really fast. A regular vacuum would not help much with heavy stains from use or even worse – spills. That’s why specialised office cleaning service providers offer not only regular and repeat sessions but also a custom-tailored approach to each and any office premises and business. Only a pressurised hot water extraction treatment can extract dirt and restore a stained carpet back to it’s fresh and cosy condition

While a few of these office hygiene tips may seem obvious, it’s surprising how many people neglect these simple rules. HR does play a significant role in office hygiene, so if you have any questions or concerns regarding your office’s health and safety, be sure to take it up with your HR department