The first of February was heralded as National Sickie Day, with over 375,000 UK workers opting to swap their hectic schedules for extra time in bed. And whilst the sighted reasons for non-attendance often included the ridiculous, we believe that it’s the hygiene of an office environment which offers a more ‘legitimate’ explanation for employee absenteeism. Research by cleaning specialists Hassle.com identified eight of the germiest items in an office.
1. THE BATHROOM SOAP DISPENSER
A study by the University of Arizona found that a quarter of office soap dispensers are contaminated with faecal bacteria. It is estimated that only 5% of people know how to wash their hands properly, meaning any interaction with this supposed hygiene staple could expose employees to infection. Deb, one of BioCote’s valued partners, incorporate our antimicrobial technology into their Global Range and TouchFREE soap dispensers to ensure the very highest levels of cleanliness are met.
2. A DESK
Rather alarmingly, the average office desk harbours 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. Don’t ignore work-space hygiene; encourage workers to wipe down their desk at least twice a week with an antibacterial or vinegar-based solution. You could also purchase desks which are manufactured with our technology, such as those by Decorative Panels.
3. THE WATER COOLER
According to public health organisation NSF International, the interior tap of a water machine gathers an astonishing 2.7 million germs per square inch. To ensure they remain hygienic, screw off the water spout and place in a bowl of warm water and sliced lemon overnight. However, if this sounds like too much effort, you could always purchase a cooler with built in antimicrobial protection; just speak to BioCote’s valued partner, Waterlogic.
4. A PEN
1 in 5 office workers admit to chewing on their pens, often as an aid to concentration. It all seems like a fairly innocent habit; that is until you take into account just how many different (and often soiled) hands the pen has been in! Chewing on this office staple not only damages teeth enamel but it also accommodates the transfer of potentially harmful bacteria into the mouth, leaving it wide-open to infection. Although it wouldn’t be a bad idea for your workers to try and break the habit, we do have BioCote protected pens for those who will always be partial to a nibble. If you would like to receive one of these mighty pens for free, contact us*.
5. A COMPUTER MOUSE
Similar to keyboards, computer mice are exposed to hand generated bacteria for several hours every day. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 10% of office workers have admitted to never cleaning their mouse, despite a recent study revealing that they can contain up to 1,676 microbes per square inch. To put it into perspective, a toilet seat has only a fraction of that number! If your employees’ hectic schedule can’t accommodate a weekly clean, you could always purchase Posturite mice which are permanently effective against bacteria and mould.
6. A TELEPHONE HEADSET
Courtesy of hair fibres, sweat and earwax, headsets are a breeding ground for bacteria which can spread skin infections and even lice! To minimise the risk of cross-contamination, encourage your staff to avoid sharing their headset with others and get into the habit of cleaning it on a weekly basis.
7. THE MICROWAVE
An average office microwave can be used up to 30 times each day, harbouring a combination of meat and vegetable residue. This nest for bacteria can pose serious potential health risks, so be sure it is cleaned daily, preferably after each use.
8. THE REFRIGERATOR
How many times do you open the office fridge after the weekend and find mouldy yogurt pots, furry sandwiches and stale milk? Quite often, we’re guessing. Therefore, it may come as no surprise to learn that bacteria thrive in this environment. With the average fridge containing 7,850 bacteria colony-forming units per square centimetre, it’s ideal to clean it out with hot, soapy water at least every two days. And remember, rather than overlooking indefinite food storage just in case we enter a zombie apocalypse, kindly ask employees to dispose of those items which they know won’t be eaten.
If discouraging pen chewing and forking out for new IT equipment sounds like an overreaction to sick days, it may be worth noting that employee absenteeism costs UK companies alone £29bn a year. In our recent School Study, BioCote® Antimicrobial Technology was proven to reduce pupil absenteeism by 20%. Translate this into the same reduction for employees and UK businesses could see an associated cost reduction of up to £6bn.
Grabbed your attention? Take a look at a full list of our partners to see what products already benefit from our inbuilt protection.
*Subject to availability