The average desktop harbours 20,961 germs per square inch. And that’s before you get into the IT on the desk: a phone, keyboard, mouse and printer. From coffee cups to office biscuits to tissues, a desk is a breeding ground for bacteria. As staff spend more time at their desk each day, working longer hours and choosing to eat at their workstation, it is ever more vital to maintain hygiene in these areas.
Your office desk profile
So where are the main offenders in harbouring bacteria? Items of technology are real magnets for germs. Of course, users touch these items most often so they come into contact with hands, ears, and mouths. Not only this, but the buttons, hinges and tiny crevices of these pieces of technology are particularly difficult to clean.
Unsurprisingly, this is the most unhygienic item in an average office. It comes into direct contact with your hands, mouth, ears, and hair. So it follows that on average 25,000 bacteria are found here. Not only this, but since phones are used by numerous people (when did you last answer a colleague’s phone when they were in a meeting?) germs are easily passed between people.
Although it is just your fingertips that contact your keyboard, all those buttons are perfect hiding places for germs to take refuge! Add to dust and skin particles all those custard cream crumbs and drips of coffee and there’s quite a collection of muck under your QWERTY. An average keyboard plays host to around 3,500 bacteria. Despite this, these pieces of equipment are tricky to clean and often neglected.
All that endless scrolling and clicking results in around 1,500 bacteria existing happily on an average mouse. This is another item of an office desk which is frequently touched my multiple people, so it only takes one unwashed hand to transmit all manner of germs around the office.
In a recent survey, sales and marketing departments were declared the worst for desk hygiene. Over a fifth of workers in this field admitted to only cleaning their desk once a month. However, to what extent should office desk cleanliness be a personal responsibility? For sales driven employees, pressure is high to win business so it’s not surprising that desk cleaning drops off to-do lists! For business owners who wish to allow their staff to focus on their roles, a professional cleaning contract is key. This removes the need for personal responsibility and increases office hygeine.
What can the individual do?
This is not to say that all staff should take the cleanliness of their desk for granted. Daily habits are key in maintaining basic hygiene levels. Regular hand washing will prevent the transmission of germs around a space. We mean before and after eating and after coming in from outside, not just on using the loo! If you do need to eat at your desk, lay a cloth napkin under your food to prevent direct contact and collect crumbs.
General office cleaning will ensure that your the desk surfaces in your office maintain a high level of hygiene. From daily to weekly cleaning, the build up of bacteria on both the desk and the equipment on that desk will be managed. Your contract will ensure that standards remain constant across the whole office so the passing of germs from person to person is decreased.
IT specific focus
Required less regularly, consistent IT focussed cleaning is a detail that marks the difference in overall office desk hygiene. With specialist equipment to disinfect even the tiniest crevices in your IT kit, a good cleaning contractor like CJH Cleaning will not just aid the health of your desk workers, but also the equipment itself!
By removing the ‘personal responsibility’ of desk cleaning, a business manager or owner essentially gives their staff an added ‘perk’ to their employment. Office workers enjoy the comfort of working in a clean and maintained environment, while enjoying the space to focus on their roles and business.
Every year, staff absence through sickness costs the British economy nearly £12 billion in lost revenues. Added to this, a survey reported that one in ten workers believes that they have experienced bad health due to poor workplace hygiene. In this way, regular and structured professional cleaning contracts can play a vital role in reducing this waste.
A dirty office environment can also affect the psychological wellbeing of employees. We’ve all heard of the concept of a clear desk enabling a clear mind. Indeed, some research shows a direct connection between a clean working environment and increased productivity. So in this way, your professional desk cleaning commitment allows your staff to work more efficiently and achieve more.
When health and productivity are combined, happiness lies. This is a bold statement, but put in real terms; if business owners and leaders commit to improving the direct working environment of their staff, those staff are less likely to become disaffected. It then follows that an organisation is less likely to experience a high staff turnover.
Employing a structured and regular professional cleaning contract for your office is an action that can radically improve your business. Office workers are under increasing pressure to achieve quantifiable results in this fluctuating economic environment. Conversely, businesses are under pressure to offer a balanced working environment which considers staff wellbeing. Professional office, and specifically desk and IT cleaning, is a great way to reconcile these two pressures. You will ensure your staff are productive at their desk, while being allowed to feel more focussed.
As for the office kitchen, though… well that’s a whole other blog!