If there are a lot of people in your workplace, it’s essential that there are measures in place to prevent the unnecessary spread of bacteria, otherwise you risk spreading disease. Although it’s never going to be possible to completely eradicate bacteria, here are a few things that you can do to minimize the spread.
Work from home policies
This is probably the most powerful thing you can do. By allowing employees who are showing any symptoms of minor illnesses like coughs or colds to work at home rather than coming into the office, you limit the spread of illness.
By making employees feel as though they need to come into the office when they are ill, you are making it much more likely that illness will spread through the workplace and that therefore even more people will end up off sick.
This applies particularly when employees are showing symptoms of illness, but can be applied a lot of the time. Ensure that your employees are seated a reasonable distance from one another, that they have access to their own stationery and that they aren’t trading computer equipment like keyboards.
This means that any bacteria that employees do bring into the office with them will be kept to themselves, rather than being spread amongst their colleagues.
Hand washing and hand sanitizer
The most effective way to prevent the spread of bacteria is with regular hand washing. Encourage your employees to wash their hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, and think about installing a free standing soap dispenser containing hand sanitizer in high traffic areas.
Hand sanitizer should be at least 60% alcohol to be truly effective, and if possible you should install an automatic dispenser to avoid the spread of germs by pressing down on a pump or pulling a level.
Studies have shown that hand dryers, particularly jet air dryers, spread a lot of bacteria when they are used. Jet air dryers are the worst culprits, and warm air dryers aren’t great either. It’s also not a good idea to use cloth towels in public bathrooms as they can harbor bacteria.
The most hygienic way to dry your hands is to use paper towels, which are then thrown into a waste paper bin.
Employees should be provided with a supply of tissues so that when they sneeze they have easy access to them. Using hands to block a sneeze causes germs to spread as they will transfer onto everything that you touch throughout the day.
If you can’t access tissues then sneeze into the upper arm, as you won’t be touching things with this as much as you would if you sneezed into your hands.
Keyboards contain on average 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. This is because while toilets are generally cleaned regularly, our keyboards are not.
Ensure that keyboards are cleaned thoroughly on a regular basis, and provide disinfecting wipes for staff to periodically wipe down their keyboard, mouse and desk to keep bacteria to a minimum.
Digital Health Buzz! aims to be the destination of choice when it comes to what’s happening in the digital health world. We are not about news and views, but informative articles and thoughts to apply in your business.