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How clean is your workplace?

How clean is your workplace?

Once upon a time, workplace cleanliness wasn’t a big topic of conversation. Perhaps some office banter about the dodgy dishwasher or things growing in the fridge. Today, thanks to Covid, businesses have to take hygiene and cleanliness seriously for workplace well-being and company reputation. Office design and fit-out company Evoke Projects has some tips for cleaning up your act!

Where are the germs lurking in your office?

The usual suspects are the ones you would expect: light switches, keyboards, telephones, door handles, coffee machines, kettles and taps. Expert professional cleaning company Cleanaux wrote about the most unsuspecting hotspots for germs.1 Some of them may surprise you!

  • Kitchens host even more faecal bacteria than the bathroom. Eew!
  • The aeration part at the end of the kitchen tap is rarely cleaned and a breeding ground for germs.
  • That handy kitchen sponge will likely have bacteria like E. Coli and Salmonella within 3 weeks of use. Clean it in the microwave by soaking in water and zapping on full power for four minutes.
  • Photocopiers are well-used but not well-cleaned. A microbiology test performed on the copier start button revealed that this tiny surface alone can carry over 186 million colony forming units per square centimetre.
  • Have you watched people pushing their water bottle right up to the spout of the water cooler? Need we say more?

Add these hotspots to your cleaning schedule for an immediate improvement in workplace hygiene.

Hot desking is a hotbed of germs

Hot desking was around before Covid, and co-workers sometimes complained about their untidy or unsanitary colleagues. Back then, personal responsibility was the main focus. Today, people are more particular and have higher expectations about an employer’s duty of care to provide a clean and hygienic physical environment.

Commercial cleaning company Cleanaux reported that “the average desk harbours 100 times more bacteria than a kitchen table and 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat. The area where you rest your hand on your desk has, on average, more than 10 million bacteria”.2 Are you looking at your desk a little differently right now? Interestingly, Cleanaux tells us that the toilet seat consistently had the lowest bacteria levels of all the tested high-touch surfaces!

Tips for hot desk hygiene

  • Use booking software for managing hot desk allocation and provide socially distanced desk options.
  • Choose booking software with an in-built cleaning schedule. It will show when a desk was used and when it was cleaned. This ensures that cleaning stays in line with desk occupancy and there is tangible evidence about the cleanliness of the physical environment.
  • Hire a professional commercial cleaning company.
  • Provide surface wipes and hand sanitiser at each desk. Even if you have a thorough cleaning schedule, people often like to do a personal clean before touching the keyboard (and also the desk now they have read this article). Ensure your wipes are suitable for electronic equipment.
  • Have a ‘no food at the desk’ policy. Crumbs and stickiness are sort of unavoidable if people are eating. Not to mention the germs from mouth to mouse.
  • Provide enough breakout space within the office fit-out. If people cannot eat at the desk, make it easy for them to enjoy their morning tea or lunch in a pleasant space.

How does office design impact office hygiene?

  • A good ventilation system with clean air filtration can help reduce germs in the air. Plants are also great for natural air purification.
  • An office design with smooth furniture surfaces, antimicrobial materials and easily accessible cleaning supplies offers a lower maintenance way of keeping the workplace clean.
  • Touch-free sanitising stations and dispensers with anti-bacterial wipes are already a mainstay of most office designs – keeping them refilled is your aim. Paper towels are more hygienic than hand dryers for the bathrooms.
  • Touch-free entrance and exit points can be arranged during your next office fit-out or refurbishment. Ultraviolet sanitisation is a good option for escalator handrails.

For workplace design and fit-out ideas for a more hygienic office, please call Evoke Projects on 1300 720 692.

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