Did you know that there were over 34 million occurrences of food born illness in the USA alone last year?
Communal living and working environments can often be a petri dish for sickness causing microbes and viruses. If good workplace hygiene rules are not enforced this can easily be passed on when food is prepared or shared.
If you want to improve the level of hygiene in your workplace where can you start? Why not read up on the basics in our in-depth article below.
1. Hand Sanitizers
Your employees may be used to seeing hand sanitizers in the washroom. However, more and more employers are seeing the value of placing them in communal areas in the office.
The staff members will regularly pass these and hopefully, get into good habits of using the hand sanitizing gel. This encourages a culture of handwashing within the departments. This is crucial to the prevention of sharing germs interpersonally in close working environments.
This also has an effect on your reputation as a company. You are instituting a policy that shows that you value worker health and that you have good standards that will be adhered to.
2. Set Up a Schedule
Cleaning is a shared responsibility and yes has to be performed regularly. The number of people involved and the frequency of cleaning should be decided and stated if possible by management or HR. Making it company policy can prevent disputes amongst those involved as to the fairness of the schedule.
Creating a schedule is more than simply a matter of cleanliness, it impacts office morale and productivity. People who learn to manage and organize their environment often see the value of it. They then apply the same principles to their work to good effect.
3. Clean Your Windows
For workers in an enclosed environment, light is crucially important. Good levels of natural light, even if the weather is not so good, can impact mood and productivity.
However, sadly this is all too often limited by dirt and dust on windows. This not only limits the light coming in but also conveys a message of a lack of care. Clean windows create a productive atmosphere and tell workers that they are cared for.
4. Set Up a Garbage Disposal System
Over-flowing trash bins, flies resulting from the trash, and unwanted smells. Nothing shouts “unprofessional” like garbage. Every workplace should have a garbage disposal system in place.
A cleaning routine by a professional company should include the emptying of these bins. It should also include the replacement of bin-liners and the cleaning of the insider of the bin to remove any chance of smells.
5. Ensure That Communal Areas Are Cleaned
Common areas in an office are a good location for workers to take a break. Snacks and drinks that they consume will give energy that is needed to maintain productivity. However, good habits are required to maintain hygiene.
Warm foods or sugary snacks left out in the open are a breeding ground for germs, especially if left overnight in warm conditions.
Sink areas should be cleaned with detergent and cloths removed and washed on a regular basis
6. Provide Clean Air
Workers may bring food and drinks of all kinds to the workplace. Unfortunately, this can leave lingering odors behind. The odors themselves may not be a danger to hygiene. However, they convey a dangerous message: That cleanliness of air or the workplace is not important.
Using either air conditioning technology or appropriate scents and fragrances to ensure that the air is clean and hygiene standards maintained.
7. Educate Employees
You may be able to create good cleaning schedules and provide clean air. However, ultimately it is the good habits of workers in your facility that will ensure those good standards are kept. For this, you may need an effective educational program.
This could take a part of your usual team or department meetings. A part could be set aside to discuss the benefits of cleanliness and how little work is needed to maintain good standards. The inclusion of everyone in the office will bring the best results.
8. Allow Sick Days
Productivity is king in the modern office environment. We do everything we can to ensure that we use each hour and minute of the day efficiently. For this reason, taking the time off for illness can be looked down on. However, this can be counterproductive.
If one person takes a day off sick, they not only recover more quickly, but they also protect others from catching their germs. Rather than discouraging sick time, provide education regarding illness and how to prevent it.
Further, it may be possible for workers to be able to work remotely from home. If this is encouraged, it may be possible to maintain some productivity whilst protecting the office environment.
9. Set Zones for Eating and Smoking
Food remnants are notorious for carrying germs. For this reason, it is good to designate where food can be eaten and where not.
The same principle should be applied to smoking. Of course in some locations, it is illegal to smoke in the workplace. However, even if it is not, designated smoking areas keep the office air clean and avoids nicotine smells on furniture and walls. Inform the staff that those violating company policy in this matter will be taken seriously.
10. Hygiene Evaluation
Every hygiene program will have its pros and its cons. Evaluate the effectiveness of the program you create against its burden on workers.
No doubt the staff will be delighted to hear of the benefits of their work in this area. However, they will also appreciate the opportunity to express their concerns. Receiving feedback is a great way to ensure that the program is effective and that it runs as efficiently as possible.
11. Check Protective Clothing
Depending on the nature of your business, you may have to wear protective clothing. In some cases this may be to protect the wearer from heavy machinery, in other cases, there may be a medical risk involved.
These clothes should be regularly cleaned and replaced as soon as necessary. They should not be worn when it is not necessary and certainly not in places where people will come into contact with hazardous materials.
12. Address Hygiene Problems Quickly
If a manager becomes aware that an employee has poor hygiene or that he is endangering the health of others in the office, he should act promptly. Take the person aside and kindly but firmly indicate the practice that is wrong. They should be made aware of the need to rectify the situation and know specifically how to do this.
If this is handled correctly the person may well be grateful that you have brought it to their attention.
Workplace Hygiene and Much More
If workplace hygiene is important to you then we are here to help. We leverage our years of experience in the hygiene and maintenance industry to provide guidance and service that can achieve the level of cleanliness that you want.
It can be a challenge to make the necessary arrangements to ensure that your workplace and home are healthy places to be. Why not follow our blog or contact us to see how we can help you.