Office hygiene is important to reducing the spread of germs and creating a safe workplace. Without good hygiene, one person sneezing can quickly turn into reduced efficiency and production levels as the whole office gradually contracts the illness. Improving office hygiene requires work on the part of both employees and employers; while employers are responsible for setting a standard and providing necessary tools, employees must take personal responsibility and engage in courteous and safety-conscious behavior in the office.
One of the best ways to improve office hygiene is to keep the office well-stocked with hygienic supplies. This may include the provision of cleaning products and disinfectants, as well as basic tools such as tissues and hand sanitizer. Giving employees the tools to maintain hygiene can often help to inspire good habits.
Additionally, an employer can improve office hygiene by setting a high standard for office cleanliness and upkeep. Ventilation systems should be checked regularly, while the whole facility should be occasionally examined for signs of mold, water damage, or other environmental issues that might harm employee health. Hiring a good janitorial team can also be a critical component of improving hygiene. Some offices try to improve hygiene by insisting that workers keep their workspace clean and organized as part of company policy.
Employee behavior can be the most important piece in the hygiene puzzle. Few realize that everyday items, such as keyboards and telephones, are spectacular growing sites for bacteria and microorganisms. Sharing office equipment is frequently how diseases are passed around the office; a keyboard used by a sick person will likely harbor infective microorganisms until disinfected. Training employees to use sanitizer and wash hands regularly can be an important part of reducing the spread of illness.
One thing that can greatly help improve office hygiene is keeping sick workers away from the office. This requires a partnership between management and employees: managers must not give workers a hard time for using sick days, while employees must not endanger trust by using sick days spuriously. Letting a sick worker stay home until no longer contagious can keep the illness out of the office; in many cases, it is better to lose a few days from one worker than go through weeks of lowered efficiency by the entire office. Resting at home is usually good for the worker, as well, as it gives him or her time to recover without undue physical stress.