It'll come as no surprise that people will be even more cautious about their risks in the workplace for the transmission of germs. While hot-desking will decrease and working from home options increase, anytime an employee is in a workplace, they'll want to ensure they are safe. New protocols are being laid down across the world to ensure employee safety and wellness as commented by CBRE
It will come as no surprise that you are exposed to more germs when you are sharing your desk with colleagues. The fact of the matter is that you will be exposed to a fifth more germs when sharing a desk. On top of that sharing a mouse will see you exposed to 40% more germs than using your own. There are plenty of ways you can protect yourself from your co-workers germs. Read more here or you can book Techno Clean in to give your workstations a regular sanitising and keep your staff healthy and productive.
One of the reasons that your workstation and technology might be less than clean is that...... wait for it.......
61% of men and 37% of women regularly use their phone while on the toilet.
This in turn means that mobiles phones can carry up to 1479 count of germs and dangerous bacteria. To give you a bit of a yard stick, 500 units is considered on the high. It shows you that using your toilet on the loo means that you might come out relieved but with a dose of harmful pathogens and bacteria. While you may wash your hands after going to the loo these germs will stay on your phone which will then pass onto your workstation area including keyboard, mouse and landline (if you still have one!). Read more.
Opinion from Dr Libby Sander, Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour, Bond Business School.
"The typical office desk is home to over 10 million bacteria, 400 times more than a toilet seat. Other studies have revealed people don’t wash their hands, and surfaces from taps to elevator buttons are “officially dirty”.
Beyond the health concerns, this has an impact on our psyche. Humans have an inbuilt disgust response to dirty environments. A clean workplace has also been shown to reduce sick days and increase productivity.
People attending work while sick adds to the spread of disease and costs the Australian economy about A$34.1 billion each year through lost productivity. The cost of absenteeism in Australia is estimated at A$7 billion a year.
We are not as clean as we might think
American researchers conducting a 13-month study found 4,800 surfaces in office buildings were “officially dirty”. Taps, microwaves, computer keyboards and fridge doors were the dirtiest surfaces.
This is especially of concern given the rise of open-plan and shared-desk workplaces. Workers in open-plan spaces have a 62% higher incidence of sickness absence than those in private or shared cellular offices.
Etiquette in shared-desk workplaces requires employees to clean down their workstation and equipment when they finish using it. However, less then half of employees comply.
I once worked with a colleague who refused to touch any surface in a public toilet and would use gloves or paper towels to avoid doing so. Another colleague was so troubled by the toilet roll dispenser that he kept his own supply of toilet paper in his office.
This is understandable given that research has shown that under certain conditions we all behave like pigs. Both our environment and social norms influence our behaviour.
In one famous study, for instance, even people who said they wouldn’t litter were more likely to do so when the environment was already dirty or others were littering.
If workplaces are already dirty, it makes sense that no-one empties the dishwasher. We feel that it is not our responsibility as we follow the norm and behave in ways we normally wouldn’t.
The impact of a messy workplace
One study of 43,021 respondents from 351 office buildings found that cleanliness was be correlated with employee satisfaction. In two laboratory and field experiments, offices that were seen to be in proper order and had a pleasing appearance had positive outcomes for trust in the organisation and for learning.
On top of all this you have the health impacts of unhygienic workspaces. Viruses can survive for hours or even months on surfaces like phones and computer equipment.
In another study on the effects of a controlled increase in cleaning quality, researchers found that a cleaner office resulted in a 12.5% decrease in sick days and reported increases in productivity.
What can we do about it?
Not all communicable infections have vaccines, so overcoming the problem of dirty workspaces requires a bit of ingenuity.
Hand hygiene has been shown to be one of the most effective means of reducing the transmission of germs. In year-long random controlled trials, workplace hygiene programs that include education and the use of hand sanitisers reduced hygiene-related healthcare claims by over 20%.
Many organisations have implemented sanitation stations in open-plan and hot-desking environments to encourage employees to wipe down the desk, computer equipment and phone when they have finished using them for the day. However, a study has shown that less than half of employees use them.
This could be explained by research that found that hot-desking environments can lead to employees feeling indifferent to their coworkers and less committed to the organisation.
Some research has suggested that creating ownership can lead to increased responsibility and to people doing the right thing. This might include team ownership of different aspects of the work environment such as schedules for cleaning the kitchen.
While employees should be encouraged to stay home while sick, and the use of hygiene programs can have a positive impact, the uptake of these initiatives continues to prove challenging for employers."
This article originally appeared on The Conversation.
You've just found out that you've got a new job. Great, can't wait to start and get your feet under the your new desk.
But wait, you turn up only to find the desk dirty, the computer screen covered with sneeze deposits, the mouse track ball clogged with grime, the landline has makeup in the mouthpiece as well as something unidentifiable on the earpiece oh and joy oh joy the keyboard has years worth of nasal hair, lunches and sticky residue.
Wouldn't it have been nicer and more welcoming to arrive at a clean and sanitised workstation? It wouldn't take much to do this and then you'd know that you're not going to go home after your first day on the job full of someone's germs.
Something to consider.
Read this and you'll agree it's time to have a spring clean of your desk
Keyboards harbour 20,000 times more bacteria than a toilet bowl, experts claim.
While your mouse is 45,000 times more contaminated than the flush handle.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3838418/Why-office-making-sick-Keyboards-contain-20-000-bacteria-toilet-bowl.html#ixzz4tp85nPmz
While "Hot Desking" has it's economic rationale for maximum occupancy rate per square metre, it also has a higher ratio of microbiological activity. A study has revealed that sharing of desks means 18 times more microbes than single occupancy desks. This means potentially more staff absences through illness by cross-contamination which could negate any costs saved in Hot Desking.
Of course, keeping any workstation sanitised and hygienic will reduce the likelyhood of sickness in the work place. For more information on how Techno Clean can help clean and sanitise computer keyboards and workstations have a look at our services.
Okay, the cold and flu season is well underway - so in reading this article you might want to think about making sure that your computer keyboard isn't just ergonomic but more importantly - hygienic.
Check out this info graphic to find out the low down about dirty keyboards.
Interesting that women's desks have more bacteria than men's! Also, that half of people clean their computer keyboards at least once a month.
There is also a handy guide on how to clean your keyboard, but you probably are too busy to do that so get Techno Clean to provide professional computer cleaning services - much easier!
The average office desk is home to 20,000 germs per square inch - that is a lot of risk to getting sick. Make sure you get your workstation cleaned on a regular basis to keeps the germs at bay.