In a typical office setting you will hear the humming of copy machines, water cooler chit chat, and ringing phones, but sometimes, there is the unwelcome sound of sneezing, coughing, and sniffles. Right now, those sounds can have implications above and beyond allergies or a cold.
This means it is more important than ever to keep your office space clean and germ-free. Here are the areas in your office most likely to spread germs and cause illness, as well as how you can help keep them clean and less likely to make someone sick.
- Computer Keyboard – One study in the UK showed that office keyboards have more germs than the toilet in the same office. Why? Because restrooms are likely cleaned regularly by cleaning staff, but who is cleaning your keyboard? Here are tips for keeping it clean: 1) turn your computer off and unplug the keyboard. 2) use compressed air to clean any dust down inside your keyboard. 3) dip a cotton swab in a cleaning solution and clean thoroughly between each key. 4) use a cloth and cleaning solution to wipe down and clean all remaining surfaces on the keyboard.
- Phone – Phones are notorious for harboring germs from your ears, hands, mouth, and face. To sanitize your phone before making your next call, use these steps: 1) unplug your phone. 2) use a lint-free cloth and a cleaning solution to wipe down all surfaces. 3) use a disinfectant wipe on the handset and be sure to pay extra attention to any surfaces that come into contact with your mouth.
- Water Bottle and/or Coffee Cup – It’s great if you are keeping up on your water intake and using a reusable coffee cup, but don’t treat either of these as a permanent fixture on your desk that only gets rinsed out once in a while. Take your cup and water bottle home every day and wash it with soap and hot water.
- Pen Holder – Of course it’s handy to have your pens, highlighters, and pencils together where you can just grab one and use it, but these can be a shockingly germ-filled spot. Because these items are often shared and travel from hand to hand and desk to desk, you need to take extra caution with them. Consider throwing all of them away and buy a new pack. Then, rather than storing them on top of your desk, keep them tucked away in a drawer so your co-workers will be less likely to want to share. If that’s not an option, at least be certain to wipe down all writing utensils and your penholder with a disinfectant wipe.
- Snacks – Crumbs left over from food can be a breeding ground for germs. Don’t be the co-worker that creates this unwelcome environment. Keep your snacks sealed in containers, and if you eat at your desk, be sure to use a plate and dispose of it when you’re done. After eating, thoroughly clean your desktop.
- Desktop – Last but not least, after you have cleaned all of the items on your desktop, you are ready for the finishing touch. To clean your desktop: 1) remove any clutter or papers from the area. 2) use a disinfectant wipe or cloth and cleaner to thoroughly clean the entire space. 3) don’t ignore spaces that aren’t used often. For example, be sure to lift up any photos and clean underneath them.
With a few extra precautions and a bit of elbow grease, you can keep your work area clean. Not only will this help ward off germs in your own space, but if your company disinfects your work building, your space will be prepared for disinfecting because disinfectants work best on a clean space.