During cold and flu season, people try to be careful not to spread germs around their environment. They worry about dropping a cookie on the floor or using a public restroom, but the dirtiest places in an office are places many people probably don't even think about—so even when workers are careful, an office setting is ripe with bacteria and other disease-causing organisms. The floors and surfaces in your office may get cleaned nightly, but if no one's disinfecting these hidden germ holders, the office case of flu can spread back and forth for weeks.
Many offices assign each employee her own computer and keyboard, but for workspaces that share equipment, the computer might be the dirtiest piece employees use. The keyboard is especially dirty, as people breathe and sneeze on it all day, rarely washing their hands before sitting down to use it. Germs build up on the keys all day long, just waiting to transfer all that bacteria to the next unsuspecting worker who comes to use the computer.
The problem with a communal kitchen is that, while some surfaces are wiped down daily, other parts rarely see disinfectant and have germs growing on them all the time. Countertops and even sinks might get cleaned nightly, but the faucet and handles that people touch are rarely wiped down. Even the most conscientious office manager who keeps the inside of the refrigerator clean might omit wiping down the handle, where germs can hide. The worst culprit is often the coffee area. Cream and sweetener containers get picked up dozens of times a day without being wiped down, and a fresh batch of coffee is often made after only a quick rinse of the pot. The handle that everyone touches stays dirty for days—sometimes weeks—at a time.
Every office worker uses multiple tools each day that other workers also touch, spreading germs and allowing bacteria to grow. Office workers may get exposed to germs by some or all of these sources:
- Remote controls
- Cell phones
Fixing the Problem
Working with the dirtiest places in an office every day can endanger your employees' health and lower productivity by causing them to take excess sick days. Fixing the problem is a simple matter of being aware of where bacteria tends to lurk and making sure these spots get regular cleaning with an antibacterial cleaner and clean cloths. Paper towels can work, but you'll hurt your bottom line by wasting so much paper every day. The best way to clean your office areas without spreading the germs around further is to fold a cloth into fourths, then use one surface on each side before refolding it to reveal unused cleaning surfaces.
The Kaivac SmartTowel is designed to effortlessly demonstrate this concept with a foolproof indicator system. Folded one way, it shows the numbers 1–4, indicating which surface to use first, then second, and so on. Fold the towel in the other direction, and you'll see the numbers 5–8, giving you even more cleaning surfaces.
To learn more about SmartTowel, click here.