What we’ve discovered cleaning your business …
Your workplace is a filthy disgrace. It’s covered in germs, bacteria and so much other funk that James Brown would be right at home strutting his stuff. Not my workplace, you say. “We clean it. It’s clean. Clean enough to eat off.” Sorry, more likely than not, we are talking about your workplace too. And actually, that eating thing is probably not an insignificant part of the problem. In fairness, we will show some restraint and stop short of likening your place of a business to a modern day plague, however the reality is that it acts as a social nexus for a great number of humans and the germs, bacteria and aforementioned funk which use them for transport. As such, it is the most likely location for your employees to both acquire and redistribute productivity-crippling illnesses.
The thin strip of silver-lining is that forewarned is forearmed. Take a deep breath because we are heading in – here are the hotspots for filth in your workplace:
1. Door handles and elevator buttons
Not only do these get touched a lot (hundreds or perhaps even thousands of times per day), but due to their shape and movement they can be very challenging to clean properly, which makes them perfect bus stops for travelling bacteria.
Sitting at your desk you cough and politely cover your mouth with your hand. When you sneeze, you raise a thin layer of tissue to your nose with your hand. As you eat your lunch at your desk, you lift, wipe and spill food on your hand. And then sooner or later you get back to work on your computer, operating your keyboard or mouse with that very same hand.
Much like the other desk-based offenders, people place grubby hands all over their phones regularly, however this item’s filth factor is further compounded by its proximity to the mouth. Outbound microscopic nasties can easily find their way onto the phone’s handset and are subsequently in the perfect location for re-inhalation by the next mouth to come along. FYI – the same applies double for your mobile phone, especially if you use it when you eat or while your are in the toilet (yes, that happens).
4. The Kitchen
Everything in the kitchen. The bins, fridge, bench, sink and cupboards are all prime sites for the transference of bacteria. The presence of food and water are key components, but the clincher is the behaviour of people in this room, as they rapidly touch multiple high-traffic surfaces before making contact with food that is on its way into their mouths.
5. The Bathroom
This one is kind of predictable, but what is amazing is that toilets and bathrooms typically feature far fewer germs and bacteria than desks. This is because despite the inherently high level of germs in areas associated with bodily functions, this risk is very well understood and thus much better mitigated than it is in other less obvious locations. Ever bleach your keyboard?
“That’s really messed up, what do I do?”
Alright, not all of this is entirely beyond your control. Here are some useful steps you can take to keep the horror at bay:
Ask your cleaners to pay close attention to the trouble zones mentioned above, and whatever they do, to make sure they don’t cross-contaminate other areas by using the same cloths and mops across multiple areas (otherwise they may as well be swabbing your lobby with toilet water).
Actively discourage staff from eating at their desks. This gives the illusion of more work being achieved, but actually results in lagging attention spans, as well as contributing to increased absence due to illness.
Make tissues, hand sanitiser and disinfectant sprays available for staff to use on themselves, their desks and equipment regularly.
Encourage your staff to stay home when they’re sick. Soldiering on has too long been seen as a badge of honour, when in the long run, it actually hurts productivity. Technology should make it possible for most workers to achieve any absolutely critical tasks that cannot possibly wait from the safely quarantined distance of their own home, thus sparing their colleagues from exposure.
Make sure that whoever is cleaning your workplace is doing so thoroughly and to current professional standards, not just what is clean to the eye.