From your mug to your keyboard, the biggest hidden germ hot spots in your office have been revealed. 

British hygiene doctor Lisa Ackerley has shared the most likely problem areas at your workplace, particularly if you hot desk. 

Many people end up sharing the same desks, keyboards, or items such as photocopiers, making the spread of bacteria more likely. 

Here, Lisa, in collaboration with hiring platform TotalJobs, shares the places you need to look out for germs – and what you can do to keep them clean. 

YOUR MUG 

germmug - Cups and keyboards in most offices have fecal matter
  •  Use the office dishwasher if you have one. If not, use your own mug.
  • Wash up your dedicated work mug in the evening.
  • Leave it on your desk ready for your use only the next day (don’t share it).
  • Get a mug and bottle for hot drinks on the go, with smooth surfaces so they’re easy to wash (preferably in the dishwasher).
  • Wash wash bottles at least once a day because water is not sterile, and bacteria will build up over time. Don’t let anyone else use them.

THE COMMUNAL FRIDGE 

germfridge - Cups and keyboards in most offices have fecal matter

If your workplace as a communal fridge, beware.

  •  If you share a work fridge, ask for a thermometer – they are very cheap (less than £5), and you can buy them from any supermarket. Check the temperature.
  • Remove any out-of-date food (before it walks out on its own)!
  • Start a policy to clear the fridge out at the end of the week and clean it.
  • Protect your own food by placing it in plastic lidded containers.
  • Keep ready-to-eat foods at the top of the fridge away from raw foods. Once you have opened a pack it will go off quicker than its original use-by date – follow the instructions on the pack.

YOUR DESK 

germdesk - Cups and keyboards in most offices have fecal matter
  • If you are hot-desking and using a phone that others have used, have a pack of antimicrobial wipes handy to banish bacteria and cold and flu viruses. Time taken to clean your phone could mean fewer days off work.
  • If you’re eating at your desk, wash your hands before touching food or use a hand sanitiser.
  • Move the keyboard away so it doesn’t collect crumbs.
  • Use anti-microbial hand gel if you can’t be sure your hands are clean when using the phone.
  • Bin your packaging rather than leaving it on the desk. Leaving food or mess around could encourage pests – another source of germs!
  • Pen-chewers – try to break the habit. If you don’t know where a pen has been, you could be ingesting bacteria or viruses left by someone else. It could have been in someone else’s mouth, gathering dust under the desk or dropped on the loo floor.
  • Give borrowed pens a clean with an anti-bacterial wipe.

‘Whatever you do, don’t leave mugs or water bottles out overnight. Water is not sterile, and bacteria will build up overnight. Ideally, bring your own mug and bottle to work and don’t share them with your colleagues,’ said Dr Ackerley.

DOOR HANDLES 

germdoor - Cups and keyboards in most offices have fecal matter
  • Remember, bacteria or viruses are not the biggest hazard. Contamination happens when bacteria is transferred from one person to a touchpoint surface like a door handle and on to another person.
  • Always wash your hands after using the toilet and try not to touch the door handle.
  • Use some tissue, your elbows or your hand within a sleeve to open the door.
  • Before getting back to work, use anti-bacterial gel – especially if you’re about to eat.

KEYBOARD AND MOUSE 

germkeyboard - Cups and keyboards in most offices have fecal matter
  • If you’re hot-desking, clean your desk using an anti-microbial wipe – you or previous users could have a cold and this helps to stop the spread.
  • Use anti-microbial hand gel if you can’t be sure your hands are clean.
  • Always use it before eating at your desk or rubbing your eyes.
  • Wash your hands before you eat at your shared desk.
  • If you’re eating at your desk, wash your hands before touching food or use a hand sanitiser.
  • Move the keyboard away to remove crumbs – and clean up afterwards!
  • Dispose of tissues after use – don’t leave them on the desk. The best place is in the bin or in the loo.
  • If you have to cough or sneeze and don’t have a tissue, do it into the crook of your elbow. It keeps your hands keep clean and stops you passing the germs on to someone else.

PHOTOCOPIER 

germphotocopier - Cups and keyboards in most offices have fecal matter
  • Don’t eat a sandwich or rub your eye after using the photocopier or other shared office machinery.
  • The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to wash your hands before eating.
  • Use a sanitiser gel at your desk.
  • The cleaners should be disinfecting hand-contact surfaces every evening.

Just remember: Always keep your hands clean, wash them before and after getting to the office, and hold on to your hand sanitizer and hand wipes to keep the bacteria away.

 

 

Daily Mail

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