Winter can be tough in an office. Not only are workers battling cold dark mornings but it is the time of year where coughs, colds and flu are everywhere. Dodging illness during winter is tough especially in communal offices, and feeling ill whilst battling the dark wet winter months can be particular hard whilst trying to be productive.
It is estimated that the flu virus costs the UK economy up to £1.35 billion pounds with workers off sick and a higher rate of doctor’s appointments being made; here are some handy tips to try and keep your office clean and clutter free during winter thus aiding productivity and morale.
Regularly disinfect shared surfaces
It can seem like workers in offices don’t have much physical contact with each other, however germs spread easily and even more so in an office environment. What may seem like a low physical contact area means that you are more likely to pass on germs through shared surfaces such as in kitchens, bathrooms and conference tables. Remember that most disinfectants need to be left for a small period of time, usually 10 minutes, to really take effect.
Regularly clean desk equipment
Office environments are the perfect place for germs to grow. Through his studies, microbiologist Dr Charles Gerba has found that the average desk can harbour 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat. Ensure that workers are educated about the germs their desk can harbour and encourage them to regularly clean desk items such as their keyboard and computer mice. There are some great video tutorials online and computer-friendly cleaning products to make this task quick and simple.
Encourage workers to wash their hands
As mentioned, a lot of germs are spread through shared surfaces and contact with infected areas. During flu and cold season ensure everyone is washing their hands regularly and properly. An easy way to do this is to purchase a large tub of antibacterial hand gel and place it in a convenient place. this way it is easy for people to access and not a time-consuming task.
Eat away from your desk
It is believed that workers eating at their desk can make them more productive, however this is actually a prime time for germs to spread. Not only can this make the office space messier, workers may also be spreading viruses back to themselves as they touch their food after touching shared surfaces. Encouraging workers to eat away from their desk is not only beneficial to their physical wellbeing but also to mental health as it ensures a break away from work tasks and allows them to clear their head and thoughts before continuing after lunch.
It is vital to maintain good health over winter, not only for business but also for workers morale. Struggling with a cold in an office is tough but there are steps that businesses can take to try and help prevent this and ensure workers don’t suffer with winter blues. Consider setting aside a small period of time a week to cleaning – perhaps 30 minutes where everyone clears the clutter from their desk and cleans their keyboard, mouse and desk surface. That way everyone is conscious of the cleanliness of their work space and is aware of how to ensure its cleanliness.