Assuming you have a clean office might mean that you’re leaving yourself susceptible to germs that can cause colds, the flu and other illnesses. Most professional offices have a cleaning crew that comes in at night, but they just ensure general cleanliness; they don’t completely eliminate germs from the most common places.
Germs thrive on the objects that you touch daily, such as your telephone and keyboard. If you’re handling objects in common areas — such as the stapler in the mail room or the dry erase marker in the conference room — then you’re picking up what the previous person left behind. The nighttime cleaning crew will do a great job at vacuuming the rug, cleaning the bathrooms and disposing of trash, but to have a clean office, you need to do your part.
1. De-clutter Your Desk
You simply can’t have a clean workspace unless your desk is clutter free. Keep your paperwork filed, binders stored and trash in the bin. Once the desk is clear, you can wipe down the desk with a solvent designed to kill germs. Keep in mind that most cleaning crews are directed to clean common areas only. Your desk is your responsibility.
2. Wipe Your Keyboard and Phone
According to CBS San Francisco, one of the dirtiest places in your office is your phone. Office phones and keyboards have many spots for germs to live until you wipe your eyes or eat a potato chip. Your fingers are the natural transit system for germs, so keep those commonplace objects clean with a daily wipe down.
3. Wash Your Hands
Nothing is better than plain old soap and water to keep your hands clean. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, handwashing is effective in avoiding illness. Wash your hands frequently before and after eating. Avoid touching your face throughout the day to prevent the spread of germs.
4. Use Sanitizers
Keep sanitizer wipes in the conference rooms and common areas. A quick swipe of a disposable sanitized cloth can make the difference between staying healthy and going home with a cold. Pens, markers, three-hole punches and photocopiers will frequently go uncleaned for months or years. And add some hand sanitizer to the mail room and conference room for any last minute hand-cleaning needs.
5. Ask About the Vents
Newsweek noted that indoor air cleanliness is often overlooked. With few offices offering windows that open up for fresh air, request that the air vents in your office be cleaned on a regular basis. Most venting systems also include air filters that help keep dust to a minimum. When those filters are clogged, you’re breathing unhealthy air.
Having a clean office means taking some personal responsibility. It only takes one sick person to spread germs through the office on any given weekday, and the cleaning crew at night isn’t likely to wipe off the stapler or pen that will give you a cold the next day. Taking a few precautionary steps can make for a healthy, clean office.
Dylan Murray has an MBA from San Diego State University and a bachelor’s degree in communication from Boston University. He is a licensed insurance agent in California, but he works as a professional researcher and writer reporting on business trends in estate law, insurance and private security. Dylan has worked as a script analyst with the Sundance Institute and the Scriptwriters Network in Los Angeles. He lives in San Diego, California, and Marseille, France.