Keyboards. Air-conditioning. Coffee machines and water coolers.
Our offices are overflowing with bacterial growth. As colleagues move around the workplace, they are transferring bacteria from one place to another. Often, the transmission results from poor hygiene, such as employees failing to properly wash their hands but an equal problem is insufficient cleaning, leading to bacterial hot spots developing over time.
Excessive bacterial contamination can result in dangerous work environments with higher sickness rates and rapid spread of infection. One research article suggests illnesses and viruses can spread from a single door handle to fifty percent of office space in as little as two hours. It’s imperative we take the necessary actions to maintain a clean environment.
Nowhere is safe, but some areas are more susceptible than others: one study highlighted alarming findings on coffee pots, whose handles showed bacteria levels as much as 34x higher than you’d find on a school toilet seat. The majority of bacteria identified could be harmful to health as well as resistant to antibiotics which is of concern, given they were contaminating a drinks station: in short, we could risk E. coli or Salmonella every time we pour a cup. Just think how often employees pick up and put down the pot, spreading bacteria from their hands onto the machine.
The second hot spot is the desk. Whether sending emails, eating lunch or conducting meetings, employees spend a lot of time seated, leading to less-than-hygienic work spaces. One visual study highlighted how a desk space can contain as much as 400x the level of germs as a toilet seat. The phone and desk surfaces have been pinpointed as the dirtiest spots; with the keyboard, mouse and mug also falling far short of cleanliness expectations. If you fail to take an antibacterial wipe to your work space, you could suffer from a build-up of Helicobacter pylori, Staphylococcus aureus, E-coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These can result in severe stomach pain, unpleasant skin infections, diarrhoea, nausea, even severe vomiting.
One study highlighted how a water dispenser handle had 20x as much bacteria as levels found on a conference room doorknob; given workers need to stay hydrated as well as healthy to be productive, offices must do better in keeping drinking stations clean.
There are simple steps to a more hygienic office. Products such as BioCote® are a silver-based antimicrobial technology, which plays an active role in inhibiting the bacteria contaminating products and surfaces. Anti-microbial prevent the growth and survival of all microbes, so bacteria, mould, and fungi are highly-effective weapons in pursuit of workplace cleanliness.
One study highlighted how the use of BioCote® antimicrobial technology reduced the presence of bacteria by as much as 93%. The results were achieved by targeting hot spots such as desks, chairs, keyboards, computer mice, whiteboards, water dispensers and a hand soap dispenser with the antimicrobial solution. Each of these areas then received the same level of cleaning yet demonstrated a significantly lower level of bacterial contamination.
There are many ways to provide a cleaner work environment from a regular cleaning schedule to a comprehensive hygiene policy. Below are five simple steps to a cleaner work space.
Many teams are blissfully unaware of how quickly bacteria can spread through the workplace and often, it will take a group effort to get your environment clean and then keep it that way. Show the office you care for their health by investing in proven technology to promote a hygienic workplace.