Recent research suggests that office kitchens are way too dirty, kettles and microwaves are worst offenders. Workplace surfaces and draining boards in office kitchens are also dirty and have a high number of bacteria. If you are sharing fridges, freezers and microwaves in your office, then look out for the handles and buttons as these are also dirty, as found by the research.
Do you like tea? More than 40% of kettle handles have higher levels of bacteria than on toilet doors.
All testing was carried out by Initial Washroom Hygiene and they found out that 75% of office kitchen surfaces have more bacteria than the average sized feminine sanitary bin.
As you know, shared office kitchens are very busy, with many people preparing their drinks and lunches making it a great place for bacteria, especially when we know that most office workers don’t wash their hands as often as they should.
To promote regular and good hygiene practices to your office employees, you could introduce towel dispensers, soap and hand surface sanitizers and have all kitchen and office workplace surfaces cleaned and sanitized regularly by using your local office cleaning company, daily or weekly.
It’s proven in the past that hand washing drastically reduces the risk of bacteria spreading in your office and will help keep your employees healthy. After all, one sick person could infect half of an average office’s most used surfaces by lunchtime. Invest into hand sanitizers or wipes and you’ll be able to dramatically reduce the bacteria in your office.
How can you encourage employees to keep the office clean?
You can start by setting a cleanliness standard by hiring a commercial cleaning company to clean the whole office. Then you can use the company to only come in when there’s a ‘bigger’ cleaning job needed.
Cleanliness in the workplace has an impact on everyone’s health and happiness. Talk to your employees about how cleaning can improve the office’s health. It could also improve happiness factor because most people are stressed and unhappy in cluttered, dirty and messy workspace. Clean office leads to productivity and less sick days. Another part relating to cleanliness is general safety, especially hygiene. Areas where food or beverages are consumed and common areas should be kept clean to minimise the spread of germs and sickness. Having cluttered office with boxes can also cause an obstruction to fire extinguishers or other safety equipment and may pose a fire hazard. Make sure your employees know where and how to store boxes etc.
Create a cleanliness policy that your employees have to sign to agree to your expectations and keeping the office space clean.
Schedule cleaning days over the summer and at the end of year for employees to deep clean their personal spaces and common areas. Recycle or shred paperwork that is outdated and not needed anymore. Check the food in the fridge and throw away out of date foods. You could order the office pizza for lunch as a reward for participating in the clean up efforts.
Have cleaning supplies handy to motivate your employees by stocking up on useful cleaning products. There’s no excuse then.
Distribute the responsibility of cleaning the office because it shouldn’t be an effort of just one or handful of employees. Consider having a cleaning rota, assigning certain days of the week or month to certain individuals or groups. Or assign different office areas to certain employees.
If your employees are dragging their heels and still don’t want to clean the office you could use peer pressure. Put up a sign in the kitchen that says “Wash your dirty dishes before you leave – of there are any dishes in the sink at the beginning of the day they will be thrown away.” It may sound harsh but by this you will enforce the standard and your expectations and your employees should get onboard.
In extreme situations you could name and shame serious offenders. One company posted pictures of dirty workplaces on a bulletin board.
Cleaning the office may not be part of the official job description of each employee but working in a clean office has psychological benefits for your employees. If your clients visit you in the office then your employees should also care about the image your client sees and his / hers first impression.
With these tips you can hopefully encourage your employees and improve the cleanliness and tidiness of your office space.