How clean is your office? Invariably we all spend an excessive amount of time at the office. Millions of people all over the world work in such close proximity to one another making the office environment a breeding ground for germs and illness. A study by the University of Arizona showed that half of the commonly touched surfaces such as phones, keyboards and door handles had become infected with the sick person’s germs within four hours. Despite knowing that staying at home when you are ill prevents the spread of illness at work, we all feel guilty when we call in sick. Whilst we don’t want to become paranoid about living with germs, it makes sense to be aware of the place germs tend to congregate. Your filthy desk! Scientists at the University of Arizona also found out that your keyboard has more germs than a toilet seat! But don’t rush to the office kitchen for the sponge or dish cloth as they too could be carrying more germs, a total of 200,000 and 20,000 times dirtier than the toilet seat respectively! Office kitchens can be the source of germs and illness so regular deep cleans are essential. How many people may touch your mouse and keyboard when you are out of the office and how often do you remember to clean it? Cleaning staff are rarely expected to clean keyboards or your computer mouse so taking matters into your own hands is essential and a weekly clean with an antibacterial wipe will do the job. Then there’s your phone, the same research revealed that there are more than 25,127 germs per square inch of your receiver! Therefore frequent cleaning is needed. Don’t forget your desk though! If you spend a long time at your desk, eat at your desk and have personal items such as photos or flowers then germs will be breeding. Weekly disinfecting with wipes or a spray will be necessary. Hidden germ zones An obvious area that can become a hotbed for germs are door handles but have you ever considered the door frame or the door itself? How many people pop their head around the door, stand in the door way and touch the frame and door edges? A hidden germ zone though it may be, it deserves regular attention and disinfecting. Another hidden germ zone to be aware of are books and files. If the whole office regularly uses the same filing system then these areas will be harbouring germs. Whilst it’s impossible to clean the pages of a book or contents of a file, the covers can be wiped down but to be even more thorough, make sure you wash your hands and clean your desk after using them. Communal areas Other areas to watch out for are those communal machines that we all use such as the water cooler machine and the copy machine. We all press the buttons to get a glass of water or to copy our documents. Again ensuring cleaning teams wipe down these items can help but also try to remember to wash your hands after use. Also avoid touching your face at any time during your working day to prevent germ transfer. Don’t overlook the conference table! How many people sit around the table each week and how many could be passing on their germs to the surface where you place your arms, hands, notebooks and files? Ensure the table is wiped down between meetings to keep your team happy and healthy.