The Learning Center

Conquer Germs and Workplace Illnesses

The first step in conquering workplace germs and illnesses is knowing where germs are most likely to fester and grow. Follow the advice of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention: thoroughly clean and disinfect your workplace – an undertaking that should be left to the most diligent and thorough commercial cleaning companies.

Clock the speed of germs

A team of researchers from the University of Arizona didn’t want to make anyone physically sick, so they replicated the norovirus (the so-called “stomach virus”) and placed it on two common surfaces – a doorknob and tabletop – in several office buildings. At various intervals throughout the day, they tested other surfaces in the same buildings, the presumption being that people who touched the infested doorknob and tabletop would touch other surfaces and the “virus” would spread.

Their hypothesis was correct. Even those researchers who thought it might take eight hours or longer for the “virus” to travel were surprised to find it took only between two and four hours for between 40-60 percent of the surfaces they sampled to be contaminated.

When you take a closer look at the many workplace surfaces people come into contact with every day, you’ll see diligent cleaning practices are nothing to sneeze at.

Size up germ “hot spots” in the workplace

Take it from the people at Kimberly-Clark, who built an international business by developing health-related and sanitary products, the most recognizable being: Kleenex TM.

Kimberly-Clark launched The Healthy Workplace Project to educate people about how to create a healthier workplace and reduce the costs of absenteeism. The project started with a revealing study about the prevalence of workplace germs and illnesses: “Exceptional Workplaces Start with Healthy Workplaces.” It found most workplaces teem with germ “hot spots,” which include:
    Conference tables
    Copy stations
    Desks
    Door handles
    Elevator buttons
    Keyboards and mice
    Lobbies
    Stair railings
    Vending areas 
    Water coolers

You don’t need a Ph.D. to size up the full picture: Germs spread at breakneck speed. Many germ “hot spots” exist in the workplace. The study found adults touch their faces about 16 times an hour, thereby transferring germs to all the surfaces they touch throughout the day.

Some employees may be diligent about “side-swiping” work stations with disinfectant wipes. However, there is no better way to stop workplace germs and illnesses in their tracks than to partner with a commercial cleaning company that will truly sanitize your workplace.


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