In today’s productivity-oriented work culture, office hygiene is something that is not only grossly overlooked but also rarely ever thought about. People usually leave these things to the hired cleaning staff, despite the fact that they are responsible for constantly infecting their desks with germs and bacteria.
We know what you’re thinking: your desk looks neat enough, so why would anyone say it’s infested with various microorganisms? You might be surprised to learn that the average work desk is prone to be 400 times dirtier than a toilet seat, or 100 times less hygienic than a kitchen table, if not cleaned properly on a regular basis. The most germ-infected areas are the traditional office phone, the keyboard and the mouse, which all contain buttons that are rarely ever cleaned thoroughly.
Dirt, dust and crumbs galore
When you really think about the fact that we spend over 40 hours a week at hour desks, the messiness of these places should not actually come as a major surprise. During these long hours, you’ve likely touched your keyboard with dirty, unwashed hands dozens of times, and eaten a few hefty meals at your desk because you were too lazy to go to the cafeteria and then abandoned your leftovers to sit beside your keyboard for several hours. At the end of the day, maybe you’ve arranged your stack of notepads and thrown away your garbage, but the likelihood of you actually spraying and disinfecting your desk is slim—are we right?
Dirty desks can be the root cause of illness
These microbes can not only be the root cause of various illnesses, they can also prolong sickness. Influenza, the common cold, and the norovirus, as well as Hepatitis A&B all thrive in messy, uncared for environments and can all make you quite ill. Dangerous microbes such as MRSA can live on your germ-infested keyboard or work phone for between 6 weeks and 7 months, so you might want to reconsider your relationship with proper desk hygiene if you don’t want to fall sick. Check out a few tips to help you maintain good desk hygiene at all times:
Wash your hands
We hope that we don’t need to dwell on this too much: simply wash your hands on a regular basis and make sure you do it properly, because a quick dip under the faucet won’t cut it! According to the Mayo Clinic, in order to get rid of all those harmful microbes that can make you ill, you need to apply soap and rub your hands together vigorously for a good 20 seconds. Afterwards you should rinse well, dry your hands and turn off the germ-infested faucet with a paper towel (not your freshly-washed hands).
Don’t eat at your desk
Look, we get it. You’re a busy individual—we all are! But that’s no excuse to rapidly munch on some random snacks just because you don’t feel like getting up from your desk. Firstly, having a proper meal is extremely important for your overall health. Secondly, dropping breadcrumbs and spreading oily, greasy spots all over your work desk is not exactly ideal. Even if you think you quickly wiped the stains off, they’re likely ingrained in your desk’s surfaces somewhere, so it will take a lot more than a rapid rub with a dry tissue to get the germs off it.
Wipe down your desk daily
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: disinfecting your desk on a daily basis should become a natural ritual for anyone working in an office! When it comes to the proper kind of disinfectant that you should use, there are a myriad of options available. From aggressive solutions like bleach to eco-friendly, natural elixirs like vinegar, the market has plenty of them. Just make sure you use disinfectants that kill germs the right way to provide maximum effect.
Properly clean your work tools
Since you’re already hard at work disinfecting your desk, you might want to clean your work tools while you’re at it as well. We know that the likelihood of anyone scraping down their keyboard on a daily basis is slim to none, but we still recommend digging deep and cleaning between the keys and buttons at least once a week to avoid getting sick.
Keep your desk neat and tidy
Last but not least, every day before you leave the workplace, do your best to tidy your desk. Place your books and notepads in one single stack, gather your stationery and throw away anything you might not need. We guarantee you’ll feel much better the next morning when you come in for work, and you’ll help keep the germs at bay!