Many of us spend 40+ hours sitting at a desk per week, and it’s thought that our office jobs could be making us ill. Bacteria, germs and viruses can spread like wildfire around the workplace, but is it because we’re not cleaning enough? Is your desk making you sick?

There is evidence to support that the average work desk harbours more bacteria than a toilet seat. With around 10 million germs on the desk and equipment, which you touch all day, this is extremely worrying! The keyboard and mouse of your office computer is heavily exposed to dust, food particles, sweat and other germs – so could be the culprits if you pick up an illness at work.

With so much bacteria on workspaces and computers, surely the last thing organisations should be doing is encouraging sharing. However, that’s exactly what many offices promote, by incorporating the new trend of ‘hot desking.’

Hot Desking and Health

Hot desking is an office organisation system which allows people to share workspaces and set up in different areas every day. Rather than having an allocated desk, workers come into the office every day and find a spare seat and computer. It is meant to increase collaboration and boost productivity, but it could actually be harmful to health.

First of all, hot desking can make it more difficult to ensure your desk and workspace is set up correctly and adjusted to each individual. Office workers need to ensure that chairs are a correct height and all desk and computer equipment is set up for optimum comfort and to reduce eye strain. If the workspace is not adjusted for the individual and assessments are not carried out, there is a greater chance of injury such as back pain.

What about the germs? Keyboards, computer mice and telephones all contain bacteria, some of which could cause illnesses. Swapping desks every day can spread the bacteria around the office very quickly. It’s also worth noting that many people admit to not washing their hands after using the toilet, so workers could be exposed to a range of germs they wouldn’t normally be exposed to, if they only touched their own computer equipment.

Keeping It Clean

Many infections and illnesses are spread through touch, and these germs can live on desks and workspaces. Dirty keyboards could increase the risk of viruses such as colds and flu and stomach bugs. Antibacterial wipes can be used to clean down keyboards, mice, screens and other parts of the desk to keep them free of harmful bacteria.

A clean office is essential for a healthy and productive workforce. How does your business promote office health and wellbeing?

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