Keep germs from spreading in the office

You may think keeping your hands clean will keep you safe, but remember the germs on commonly used office surfaces, like computers and telephones.

Most people are concerned about picking up germs in a public restroom or the grocery store. While those are valid concerns, be sure to give some thought to the surfaces you touch at work, too.

In many offices there are plenty of surfaces that are touched by more than one person. Copy machines, computers, telephones and door handles. There may also be surfaces that only you come in contact with, but when was the last time they were cleaned?

How can we avoid the spread of germs in the office? First of all, Michigan State University Extension urges you to wash your hands. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following hand washing steps.

  • Wet – Using clean, running water wet your hands and apply soap.
  • Rub – Create a lather and scrub well, wash up to your wrists, between fingers to the finger tips. Under watches and rings are great hiding places for pesky germs.
  • Wash – Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. If you need a timer, sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
  • Rinse – Rinse your hands under running water to wash germs and dirt away.
  • Dry – Use a clean towel to dry your hands or let your hands air dry.

You should wash your hands before and after eating, using the restroom, using shared office equipment and meet-and-greet activities. Washing before and after these activities protects you from others, but also helps prevent you from spreading germs.

Clean hands should be a top priority to stop spreading germs around the office. The American Cleaning Institute suggests regular cleaning of the following items to prevent germs from spreading.

  • Computer – Clean the keyboard, mouse and monitor.
  • Printer/Copy Machine – The printer is probably rarely cleaned, and yet buttons are often pushed on printers.
  • Telephone – Clean your phone daily using a hard-service disinfectant cleaner or wipe. You may want to clean your cellular phone off also.
  • Surrounding surfaces – Don’t forget the rest of the desk and surrounding workspace.

Note: Always shut-off the computer/office equipment before you clean and never spray cleaner direct onto any part of the computer.

Keeping your office space clean by washing hands and cleaning equipment will hopefully lead to less illness for yourself and your co-workers. Prevention is key; don’t wait until the germs are spreading. Keep the germs from spreading by playing defense!

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