Hygiene in the office
Facts & Figures
… per hour an adult person reaches into his face on average.
… on average, more bacteria are found on a computer keyboard than in a public toilet.
… of all infections are transmitted via the hands – especially colds and flu.
… of all surfaces are infected with pathogens until lunchtime by one single colleague who comes to work sick.
Researchers from the University of Tucson, Arizona (USA) have contaminated the entrance door of an office building for a study. They placed a virus at the door handle that does not infect humans but is very similar in shape, size and survivability to the cold and stomach flu virus. In just two hours, the virus had contaminated the coffee machine in the break room, the microwave, the fridge door handle, the toilets and finally the offices – the office became a real “bioweapon”. After four hours, the virus was found on more than 50% of the frequently touched surfaces and on the hands of half of the 80 employees. The researchers calculated a 30% risk of infection for the employees.
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Our best products for improving hygiene in the office
Folded paper towels
Cleaning paper roll
Open top pedal bin
- As an employer, you are obliged to ensure a clean working environment and to provide, for example, hand soap and disinfectants.
- In addition to this, you should provide workers with easily accessible and understandable information on hygiene standards. Posters, stickers, e-mails etc. are possible measures you could take.
- Employees are obliged to comply with the company’s hygiene regulations. To encourage them to comply with hygiene standards, it is important to explain to them the necessity of the guidelines.
The worst germ magnets
Because hardly anyone remembers to clean telephone handsets regularly.
Pathogens feel particularly at home in tea residues and saliva.
Fridge handles are touched by all staff throughout the day – sharing the germs throughout the day too
Buttons & switches
Whether it’s the elevator button or the start button on the printer: buttons and switches are always germ magnets.
Regularly wipe firmly over it and clean it thoroughly from time to time is the top priority for keyboards.
The same applies here as for phone handsets. Be honest, when was the last time you thoroughly cleaned your computer mouse
Where many hands regularly reach out, lots of bacteria also regularly feel at home.
To help reduce the spread of germs Employees arriving by public transport should wash their hands before work.
Good air circulation
-Air our your offices several times a day for a few minutes with windows or doors wide open. This reduces the number of pathogens in the air and thus reduces the risk of infection.
-In addition, regular ventilation increases the air humidity in the office, which is usually very low in winter due to turned up radiators. This can effectively prevent the transmission of pathogens.
-High humidity helps to neutralise flu viruses. Until now it was only assumed that the mucous membranes dry out more quickly in dry air and that viruses can, therefore, settle more easily. But now it is clear: regular ventilation is good every two ways.
Best Practice for coughing and sneezing
To put one’s hands in front of one’s mouth when coughing and sneezing is seen as well mannered, but in reality, it is quite unhealthy. At least for your fellow colleagues. Because every time you cough or sneeze, a large number of germs from your body get onto your hand – and as you have already learned, hands are the biggest spreader of diseases. So it is better to cough or sneeze into your sleeve or handkerchief to keep your hands as clean as possible.
If possible, always try to distance yourself as far as possible from your fellow human beings when coughing or sneezing and to turn away. Fortunately, most people do this automatically anyway …
Important: To be on the safe side, always wash your hands afterwards. Every time!
Reducing presenteeism in the workplace
If you are really sick, you and your hands should better stay at home. Appearing at work may seem brave and dutiful at first, but it not only endangers your own health but also your colleagues. Because if the whole department gets sick, no one will be helped in the end ...
Many employees come to work sick because there is a lot to do and they do not want to give the impression of being "lazy". According to the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 83% of respondents had seen a colleague turn up to work when sick. In psychology, this phenomenon is referred to as "presenteeism".
The average productivity loss of a company due to this well-intentioned "presenteeism" is twelve percent, about three times as high as that due to sickness-related absenteeism.
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