Any place where people gather and work or play together, hygiene is an issue. At work, when people are busy and involved, they often don’t think much about taking care of the small things that help stop the spread of germs. However, it is much more important to take care at work because there is a much greater possibility that bacteria and viruses are present.
The Workplace Breeding Ground
Whether your workplace has six people or sixty, they probably all come from different places, and many of them will take public transportation. It doesn’t take a sick person to bring serious germs into any room. They will be left on elevator buttons, handrails, telephone handsets, keyboards, remote controls, door handles, toilet flushes and desk tops. Most people are preoccupied and don’t think about where they put their hands.
You can contaminate these surfaces, you can be contaminated by these surfaces or you can avoid both and have a better chance of staying healthy and keeping your coworkers healthy. If you work in a place where food is handled or where you regularly touch customers, there are government regulations about workplace hygiene. Wherever you work, you can care for your personal hygiene to benefit others and do a few simple things to protect yourself.
Seven Tips for Improving Workplace Hygiene
1 – Make sure the workplace is properly cleaned every day. There should be facility for sanitary disposal of waste, dust and dirt removal including food crumbs and spills. Floors should be vacuumed or washed with disinfectants. There are many environmentally friendly products on the market that won’t contaminate the indoor air quality. A professional janitorial service can do this daily with weekly or monthly in-depth cleaning. If the workplace is neat and tidy, employees will be happier at work, which will improve motivation and productivity.
2 – Personal workspace should also be kept clean. A survey taken of US employees revealed that 60 percent of people judge their co-workers, at least partially, on how clean they keep their workstation. It should not only look organized, it should be dusted and wiped daily.
3 – If your workplace has a common kitchen area or even just a sink, coffee maker and shelves with mugs, spoons and other utensils this is a potential breeding ground for bacteria that can be spread throughout the office. All cups and other things should be washed in hot, soapy water every day. Sugar, powdered coffee creamer and other food items will leave residue that could grow mold and fungus. Make sure the area is well stocked with dish soap, hand soap and paper towels. Sponges and cleaning rags can grow more bacteria than the food, so, in an office area, it is better to have disposable cleaning products and a sanitary disposal unit.
4 – It is easy to take an OTC cold or flu medication and feel better. However, this doesn’t mean you are well and no longer infectious. If possible, try to work from home, and, if not, just take sick leave because if you infect everyone else, everyone else will need to take sick leave too. Not to mention feel terrible. Taking sick leave may be frowned upon by your employer, but that is inconsequential compared to infecting half of your coworkers.
5 – You should take extra care to keep your hands clean. This means when you sneeze or cough and you cover your mouth, you should wash your hands or at least use a hand sanitizer. Never rub your eyes or bite your fingernails without washing your hands before and after. This not only keeps you from becoming sick it will prevent other people from contracting your germs.
6 – Restrooms need to be cleaned to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s workplace hygiene requirements. This means each restroom should be equipped with sanitary disposal, toilet paper, hand drying towels, hand soap, and warm or tepid running water. With these facilities on hand, employees need to use them especially if they work in the food industry. A survey found that only 27 percent of employees in a fast food restaurant washed their hands after using the restroom. Janitorial services will keep the restrooms up to standard.
7 – Along with your workspace, keep yourself clean too. This means taking showers, using some kind or odor-killer if you don’t like deodorant, shampoo your hair at least once a week if not more often and be careful not to spit, pass gas or pick your nose in public.
In general, these tips will help keep you and your coworkers from getting sick, but if everything else fails, remember that hand sanitizer does wonders to protect you from picking up germs on your hands and transferring them to your eyes or mouth and it protects others from your germs.