News and information from the world of NatraSan, plus some of the science and research behind the products.

Hot desking – a hotbed of germs

For many of us, the workplace is where we spend the majority of our week. Meetings, deadlines, lunch breaks, writing reports and chats by the photocopier with colleagues are all part of the working day.

External meetings, internal meetings, sessions with HR, PR, accounts, sales; you’ve probably had your fill of meetings by the end of the week. But is office hygiene ever on the agenda?

The standard working desk is said to be 400 times dirtier than the average toilet seat; around 10 million bacteria are happily co-existing on it with you. Computer keyboards harbour around 7500 bacteria and surveys suggest that 11% of workers never clean them, even though viruses such as flu can survive on surfaces for 24 hours or more.

Sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day, so perhaps you grab a quick sandwich and eat ‘al desko’ – but have you ever considered the food particles which might end up dropping on the keyboard? Another study found more than 1600 bacteria per square inch on the average computer mouse. Your phone is yet another hotbed of germs, with around 25,000 sharing the mouthpiece.

Away from your desk, the photocopier button, door handles, shared coffee mugs and the office fridge can also be less than hygienic.

The current increase in flexible working has meant a rise in hot-desking, as employers report savings of up to 30% on the costs of running an office. However, this may not be the benefit it seems. Shared desks mean a higher transfer of germs and a resulting increase in time taken off for illness. With sickness absence costing the UK economy more than £100 billion per year, and 131 million working days lost, hot-desking could be a major factor.

So how can you keep healthy in the office, especially if you’re having to share a desk with colleagues?

We’ve put together six pointers to a hygienic workspace:

  • Introduce an office hygiene policy with antiseptic spray at each desk
  • Regularly sanitise phones and keyboards
  • Ensure hands are clean before eating, and if you have to eat at your desk, push the keyboard to one side
  • Buy an office dishwasher to keep mugs and other crockery as clean and hygienic as possible
  • Have a sensible sickness policy so workers don’t spread germs by dragging themselves in if they’re ill

NatraSan Antiseptic Spray is ideal for helping to keep offices germ-free. It contains hypochlorous, the body’s own natural antiseptic, an incredibly effective acidic substance released by our white blood cells to kill germs including bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeasts and moulds. It kills 99.9999% of harmful micro-organisms in seconds, but is completely safe for humans, animals and the environment, and can be used on both hard and soft surfaces so you can spray your entire workspace.

NatraSan Antiseptic Spray – Travel Buddy is a handy size for handbags, rucksacks and briefcases. If you have to share a desk with colleagues, give the area a quick spritz before you get started and help reduce the chances of sharing germs as well as desks.

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