read How to Maintain Hygiene at the Workplace

How to Maintain Hygiene at the Workplace

Hygiene at the Workplace

Office or our workstation is a place where we spend eight to nine hours of our lives each day. While we are completely focused on meeting our work targets, most of us pay little attention to the hygiene conditions around us. You may even be at the top of your hygiene game at home and other personal spaces, and feel “why should I clean the office?”. However, the workstation is where you spend more than one-third of your day. So, maintaining high standards of hygiene there is of great importance.

What is office hygiene, and why is it important?

As the name suggests, office hygiene is hygiene at the workplace. It involves simple habits such as keeping your desk clean, eating food in the designated area, smoking in the smoking zone, or maintaining toilet hygiene. Workplace hygiene is essential because: 

1. It encourages employee welfare, health, and safety
Any place that is clean and aesthetically pleasing creates a pleasant atmosphere. This generates a healthy workforce, leading to more productivity and a happy work environment. Employees fall sick less often. Conversely, unsanitary conditions can adversely affect their physical as well as mental health. 

2. It maintains a positive image of the office
Unsavoury office spaces, thanks to first impressions, could even lead to loss of business. Maintaining a clean environment is in the best interests of all.

How can you achieve workplace hygiene?

At the office level

1. Implement a hygiene policy
Inform and educate the staff of your intentions and expectations of a clean workplace by sharing a hygiene policy with them.

2. A clean bathroom
Ensure all the toiletries, such as the soap, handwash, toilet paper, and towels are well-stocked in the staff toilet. Encourage the staff to implement sanitary habits while using the toilet.

3. Sanitizers and tissues
Make sure every workstation has a sanitizer and tissue box readily available.

4. Waste paper baskets
Ensure every workstation has a waste bin to dispose of papers and tissues.

5. Regular cleaning 
Designated cleaning staff should ensure that the floors are regularly swept and mopped and the workstations dusted every day. ACs should be serviced at periodic intervals. Installing air fresheners would help prevent any unpleasant smell in office spaces. 

6. Set eating and smoking zones
Remains of food can breed germs, so ensure that you and your employees eat only in the designated areas and not at your workstations. Also, have a separate smoking zone to maintain a hygienic environment in the office. Employees should have access to clean drinking water.

7. Ensure protective clothing
People who operate heavy machinery should have access to protective clothing, which should be washed and replaced regularly. 

8. Hygiene issues and sick leave
If you notice someone being unhygienic, they should be prompted to take corrective action. If employees are unwell, it might be best to grant sick leave to stop the spread of infections and general stress.

Also read: Personal Hygiene: A Guide to Healthy Practices

At a personal level

1. Handrail hygiene
Shared areas, such as staircase handrails, ticket machines, and doorknobs or handles can be easy spreaders of infections. Ensure you wash your hands frequently with soap and water at the office.

2. Practice targeted cleaning
Microbes can build up and transmit infections in places like coffee machines, common phones, and photocopy machines. So, remember to wash your hands with soap and water after using them.

3. Clean your keyboard
The keyboard can harbor numerous microbes. So, clean your keyboard frequently with an antibacterial wipe. 

4. Follow proper toilet hygiene
Do not forget to flush the toilet before and after use and wash your hands after.

5. Keep hands off your face
Do not touch your eyes, mouth, or nose, as these are the most vulnerable body parts when it comes to infections. 

6. Focus on your hygiene habits
Do not depend on others to be clean and hygienic. Pay attention to your own well-being and take adequate care to avert any illness. If you have a cold, sneeze into a tissue paper, dispose of it properly, and wash your hands. If you are having a cough, do it in your elbow to safeguard others from being infected. Take leave if you have a fever or are suffering from the flu to protect others from contracting it. 

Office hygiene is as important as personal hygiene in personal spaces. Spending long hours at work makes it imperative to follow certain rules to prevent contracting and spreading infections. 

References
1. How Important Is It To Maintain Hygiene And Sanitation At Workplace? Proactive. https://www.ask-ehs.com/magazine/recent/How-to-maintain-hygiene-sanitation-at-workplace.html (accessed June 14, 2021).
2. 12 Smart Ways to Improve Workplace Hygiene and Employee Health. Openworks. https://openworksweb.com/workplace-hygiene/ (accessed June 14, 2021).
3. 6 Reasons Why Office Hygiene is Important. gethppy. https://gethppy.com/workplace-happiness/6-reasons-why-office-hygiene-is-important (accessed June 14, 2021).
4. Office Hygiene Tips from Biomaster. Biomaster. https://www.biomasterprotected.com/hygiene-tips/office-hygiene-tips (accessed June 14, 2021).
5. Not Safe for Work – Poor Office Hygiene. HealthHUb. https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/1247/not-safe-for-work–poor-office-hygiene (accessed June 14, 2021).
6. Workplace Hygiene. Employsure. https://employsure.com.au/blog/workplace-hygiene/#:~:text=Do and Don’ts of,to the company’s hygiene policy (accessed June 14, 2021).

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