How to Prevent the Spread of Germs

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( — October 25, 2019) — As we edge closer towards winter, you’d probably be lying if you said you weren’t worried about the heightened possibility of illness. Of course, you can get sick at other times of the year, but in winter you face the possibility of colds, flu and the norovirus. And freezing weather outside isn’t very helpful for recovery.

Workplaces, in particular, are an absolute party destination for bacteria. Not only are there loads of people packed in together, meaning germs can easily spread, but there’s also surfaces which are touched constantly by a range of different people, leaving them grimy and dirty.

Not to mention the fact that people working long, hard hours are more prone to having low immune systems because they perhaps aren’t sleeping much or are stressed.

Your place of work is one of the most likely places you’ll catch an illness this winter, which is why you need to get clued up on office hygiene and preventing the spread of germs in your office.

1. Get anti-bacterial wipes or spray for surfaces

This is the big one. Bacteria will build up on all surfaces you and your colleagues use on a daily basis, from keyboards to desks.

You should regularly clean your work surfaces with cleaning supplies, even daily if you can find the time. Use a product such as Dettol anti-bacterial surface cleaner spray and either blue wiper roll or scouring hand pads.

It’s even a good idea to have anti-bacterial hand gel close by when you’re at work.

2. Wash any communal cloths and tea towels daily

Tea towels can be one of the worst culprits for harbouring bacteria. Even in a domestic kitchen, you should really change your tea towel daily, let alone a workplace one.

It would actually be more hygienic to not use tea towels at all, but we recognise this may not be practical and the alternative, paper towels, can be damaging to the environment.

So just ensure workplace tea towels are all thoroughly washed every single day. Have at least two sets so you can interchange them and buy new ones regularly.

3. Don’t eat at your desk

How disgusting is it when you find bits of food in your keyboard?

As well as being grim to work with, old and mouldy food in the work equipment is another way to attract bacteria and even mice.

Ensure there are many bins around the office for staff to throw food scraps away, for instance, a stainless steel bullet push litter bin.

4. Clean out the communal fridge regularly

Mould growing on food can be dangerous to the other food being kept in the fridge, even if that’s perfectly fresh.

Encourage workers to not keep anything in the fridge for too long, but also have a policy whereby you chuck everything out at the end of each week – as long as people know this will happen, they can’t complain and must choose whether or not to take responsibility for the food they leave there.

If food that’s perfectly edible is left but it’s the end of the week, donate it to a food bank or someone in real need of it.

5. Be careful when sharing mugs

We know sharing is caring, but when it comes to the workplace it may not be.

You can’t guarantee kitchen equipment like mugs and glasses is being washed correctly unless you have an all-seeing eye. So rather than take the risk, bring in your own mug and cup. You’ll be the smug one when everyone else is coughing and sneezing!