If you’re working in a shared office, we advise the following;
This is not a replacement for medical advice, if you think you have Coronavirus symptoms, call NHS 111.
• Wash your hands – We may say it a lot, but it really is important to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly to avoid the spread of germs. Wash your hands when you arrive at work. Think of all the things you may touch on the way to work: your keys, phone or tablet, the Tube or train, or your car if you drive, buttons in the lift, a newspaper… All of these, especially those touched by others, will be full of germs.
Also wash your hands before you eat or drink anything – putting unclean fingers in your mouth greatly increases your risk of e-coli or salmonella. And of course, don’t forget to wash your hands every time you use the bathroom!
• Be careful what you touch – The average person touches 300 surfaces every 30 minutes, exposing themselves to 840,000 germs. Consider the number of things you and your colleagues all touch in your office, often without thinking: shared surfaces in meeting rooms, the kitchen and other communal areas, doorknobs and door frames, the photocopier or printer, colleagues’ desks, to name but a few. You’re touching and spreading millions of germs each day! Touching them is unavoidable but washing your hands to help eliminate them is not so difficult.
• Use hand sanitiser – OK, so it might not always be possible to pop to the bathroom to wash your hands every few minutes. Using hand sanitiser can help minimise the risk of spreading germs when you can’t get to the sink. Keep some on your desk, in meeting rooms, other communal areas and at your reception desk, so that visitors can also clean their hands before they shake yours.
• Don’t eat at your desk – Food crumbs on your desk encourage the growth of nasty bacteria and spilling food encourages germs to spread. But it’s not just germs lurking on your desk that could give you colds, gastroenteritis or food poisoning. Eating at your desk also makes you less effective and can affect your productivity.
• Coughs and sneezes spread diseases – While we all know coughing and sneezing causes germs to spread and be caught by others, you’re far more likely to catch a cold from a contaminated surface. Germs and bugs can survive on surfaces for up to 72 hours, so it’s absolutely crucial to clean them regularly, especially if you or a colleague has a cold. Diligent washing, wiping and sanitising can help reduce incidents of colds and flu by as much as 80%.
• Take extra precautions if you’re ill – And if you do have a cold or flu, do your colleagues a favour and work from home if you can, or take the time off. They will thank you for it and you will also recover more quickly. If it’s unavoidable for you to go into work, take extra precautions. Use tissues to catch the drips from your nose, wash your hands more often, use hand sanitiser after you’ve blown your nose or caught a cough or sneeze in your palms, and disinfect your desk, keyboard, mouse and phone.
• Clean your computer/laptop! Anyone can clean and sanitise their keyboard.