Winter is almost over, and you may be rejoicing for successfully avoiding that nasty cold or flu bug that seems to have struck down most of your colleagues. But don’t celebrate just yet, as it starts to warm up, we tend to get complacent with taking precautions against these horrible germs.
Our offices are one of the biggest germ-factories we can be in and no matter how well you try to avoid those who are showing any symptoms of being unwell, bacteria can still spread. Despite your best efforts, if you avoid basic office hygiene, you can fall victim to these bugs.
GCC Facilities Management recently ran a study to discover how often common office items are cleaned and the results were shocking. The least cleaned office item is the work telephone, this can be touched numerous times a day by various people and mouths come within proximity. The average office phone contains more bacteria than a toilet seat so really, you should be cleaning it at least once a day. You can avoid this germ-fest with the hiring of professional cleaners, who help to eradicate the spread of bacteria and keep you healthy, you can see a full range of GCC’s cleaning service at http://www.gccfm.com/commercial-cleaning-services/.
Not all of our workspaces have the resources for professionals and sometimes we are left to fend for our own hygiene. By following these 5 top tips, you can those around you from catching anything and more importantly, prevent yourself from getting sick at work.
1. Clean Your Desk
Our personal desks are our own little haven when we’re at work and seeing as we spend an average of eight hours a day there, it is like a second home. Even if you are not ill, your desk items can be harbouring thousands of germs from the spread of those who are.
37% of computer mice are never cleaned and 31% of keyboards are completely neglected. Considering these are touched hundreds of times a day and it is unlikely you can wash your hands after each point of contact, who knows what you could be contracting.
Dr Arun Thiyagarajan of Bupa UK, the leading international healthcare group, states:
“Surfaces and equipment can harbour dirt, viruses, and bacteria that can remain active for months. Without regular office cleaning and good personal hygiene – e.g. antibacterial hand washing – there’s an increased chance of these surface germs transferring to you and giving you illnesses like flu, food poisoning, and diarrhea.”
You should aim to wipe down your desk with an antibacterial product at least once a day and don’t forget keyboards, mice and anything else you have regular contact with.
2. Anti-Bac is Your Ally
We learn at a young age the importance of washing our hands and yet we do not do it enough. Getting up constantly to visit washrooms can be a big-time waster and we are all too busy in our working life to do so.
Keeping antibacterial gel close to hand will make a world of difference when sickness is rife in your office. Use it as often as you can, especially when returning to your desk and before eating.
Germs can be transferred quickly from touching door handles and handling items others have also been touching, such as pens or paperwork.
3. Move Your Workspace
If others have been ill, try to work from home for a few days. Working within proximity to others can mean you will easily fall sick and even if they have taken the day off, germs can still be lingering.
Although you may be out of the office, you will still be able to work and it will avoid you having to take sick days, leading to a complete loss of workhours.
If you are unable to work from home, try to move your workstation away from others, ideally near an open window where you can get a flow of clean air.
4. Avoid Shared Items
Communal mugs, cutlery and appliances like microwaves are a breeding ground for bacteria. You never know how well they were washed after a previous user left their germs on them, or someone who is ill may have touched them last after a dishwasher was emptied.
These items come in direct contact with your mouth and can lead to you getting sick. We understand the need for tea and coffee at work but instead of reaching into the office cupboard, try and bring your own items from home. That way you know exactly where they have been.
Tea and sugar bags can also be a playground for bacteria, with anyone’s hands possibly been in the boxes, so it may be best to have a stash only you can touch.
The most important rule of all. Trying to avoid germs is redundant if your immune system is weakened, so look after your body and it’ll look after you.
Replace sugary drinks with green tea, this boosts your antioxidant intake and remember to always drink plenty of water.
Many of us suffer from Vitamin D deficiency due to leaving the house and returning when it is dark. Lack of Vitamin D can lower your defences to colds and flu so pick up some supplements.
It may be hard to always do, but make sure you get enough sleep. Not getting enough rest can severely weaken our immune system and also determines how long it takes for us to recover should we fall ill, it could be the difference between a day of sniffles and a week in bed.
By following these simple guidelines, you can dramatically reduce your risk of getting sick in the office. If you are unlucky and catch some, consider your colleagues and stay home from work to avoid spreading this. If you really can’t avoid going into the office, you must still follow these tips to stop anyone else getting ill.