The COVID-19 outbreak reminds everyone about the basic importance of personal hygiene and how it affects the workplace, and a thorough hand washing is the first step.
But what you touch around the office and at your desk can house harmful microbes in between hand washing. Remote employees decrease the spread of germs through social distancing, but the technology used everyday can also carry germs if not cleaned properly.
Sanitizing office technology
According to the University of Arizona’s Dr. Charles Gerba, the average office computer carries 21,000 germs per square inch. Unlike facility bathrooms or kitchens, it is rarely disinfected despite daily use. Unsurprisingly, technology regularly used by more than one person carried a higher level of germs.
The science is clear, and the best defense is regular sanitation of office technology, whether shared or individual.
Office items to disinfect include:
Printer screens and buttons
Desk phones, headsets and headphones
Keyboards, mouses, mousepads and track pads
Shared pens and markers in conference rooms
Mobile phones and tablets
Arms of desk chairs and desk surface
Clean and disinfect the keyboard
Laptop devices have an integrated keyboard, which can make a thorough clean seem more difficult, but not impossible. Use isopropyl alcohol and apply to a Qtip to disinfect the areas between keys. If using a spray cleaner, dampen the paper towel or cloth and do not spray the cleaner directly on the computer.
Auxiliary keyboards are one of the most overlooked desk items, and with employees eating at their desks on top of regular use, tend to accumulate crumbs, dust, and debris more than other office technology. To clean, unplug from the computer. If using compressed air, blow the debris from between the keys. Otherwise, turn the keyboard over and tap the back or shake gently to dislodge debris.
Hand washing is key
To combat the spread of infectious diseases, businesses can pivot and embrace a dispersed workforce, but even beyond an outbreak, the office environment should always be maintained by employees through good personal health habits. Keep your office healthy and safe by requiring employees wash their hands and regular disinfect shared and individual technology.