Whether at home or owning a small company to a large business with an office premises, it is likely that you employ a cleaner or cleaning company. It is also likely that they will routinely empty waste baskets, clean office areas including reception, sales floors, bathrooms and communal kitchens etc. However, how often are they tasked with cleaning office workstations including computer equipment and other electronics and are they even equipped to do so? How often do your employees themselves set about cleaning their own workstation area? It may be that you operate a tidy desk policy and your employees may even hot desk so there isn’t the opportunity to accumulate clutter however it is still worth investing in a company or cleaning equipment and products that can eliminate dirt and germs from office electronics.
Operating regular equipment cleaning can even cut back on office illnesses as a percentage of work related illness is caused by transfer of bacteria such as Ecoli within the office environment.
Companies are required to have business insurance to cover things like workplace accidents however with facts like this at your fingertips it is easy to see why having a policy or procedure surrounding the cleanliness of the workplace and its equipment is important. Employers have a duty of care to protect their employees as much as possible and whilst there is the onus on the employee too there are simple measures employers could make more of to improve office hygiene.
Even at the very lowest level neglecting your expensive office equipment and allowing dust, grease and other dirt to linger and penetrate computers, printers and telephones can negatively affect their performance which in turn affects the running of the office as a whole as downtime can occur whilst repairs take place.
Not only does cleaning your office hardware ensure your office run at its maximum potential but also it means that you are safeguarding against germs and bacteria being transferred to your workforce.
If you sit and think about the activities that go on at an individual workstation you will soon realize why regularly cleaning is necessary as oppose to that random one off deep clean. Furthermore when you think about how many people use a communal printer each day along with the volume of employers who operate desk sharing the consequences of germ transfer are frightening. Add to that that almost 90% of employees eat their lunch at their desk and the opportunity for dirt and food debris to further contaminate the workplace as well as degrade equipment performance is increased.
Statistics from the University of Arizona state that there are 400 times more bacteria on an average work station than on a toilet seat and yet most employers will focus their cleaning company’s efforts in areas like communal bathrooms rather than desk areas. The University also found that regular cleaning of office hardware reduced the volume of germs and bacteria found by 99.9%.
Not only can illness be caused due to dirty equipment in the office but other physical ailments can occur which affects the health and safety of employees. Dirty computer screens can aggravate existing eye conditions and cause eye strain and nausea through regular use.
On telephones including cell phones, which incidentally it is recommended are cleaned daily, there is the 30% possibility of virus transfer to the user. This is compounded by users choosing to give their phones a quick wipe down on their clothing rather than use a proper phone disinfectant wipe.
It is easy to think that employers involved in health or animals are the only ones that really need to think about germ and bacteria transfer. However, as an employer you have a duty of care to your workforce to consider their wellbeing.
Obviously they too have a responsibility to follow and set procedure or policy to ensure the wellbeing of their colleagues. However without a guideline to follow in the first place it is difficult for them to be clear on what is required of them. Rather than rely on individuals common sense, getting a policy in place with the aid of office cleaning professionals is the best place to start. From there you can set up your expectations and work with line managers and team leaders to establish a routine and enable employees to take time out of their day to practice great office hygiene. Adopting a policy is a sure fire way of protecting your business, your profits and your employees.
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