There are plenty of stories and news items about workers who have too many sick days. A company’s workflow and productivity can be badly affected when one or more of their workers are absent on a regular basis. In response to this problem there have been a number of different studies on whether worker absenteeism is connected to their working environment. The fact is that the average office desk harbours more germs and bacteria than the average toilet – not a pleasant thought, is it? Sounds like the UK needs more office cleaning.
The worker next door
The modern trend towards working in cubicles, rather than in different offices, means that if the worker in the cubicle next to yours comes into work with a bad stomach or a streaming cold they are likely to be spreading germs that could infect you. As the studies show that the average work desk is suffused with germs you have to ask the question, ‘Is my desk making me ill?’
If the worker in the cubicle next door to you is coughing and sneezing everywhere it seems fair to assume that those germs will not remain within that cubicle but will spread to your desk as well. A growing number of people now eat lunch at their desk, which means that they are now more susceptible to picking up bugs than used to be the case. Not so long ago, employees had designated eating areas that were kept spotlessly clean. Now, certain studies show that most workers don’t bother cleaning off their desk before they eat, yet they wouldn’t dream of eating from a dirty table at home.
How clean is your office?
Many companies employ after hour’s cleaners to clean their offices, but a quick wipe of the telephone receiver and the desk top does not make that space germ free. It is important that the cleaning firm chosen is more thorough and proactive in their approach towards keeping harmful bacteria at bay. An increasing number of germs and illnesses no longer respond to antibiotics, which means that personal cleanliness, and cleanliness in your daily environment, is probably more important now than it might have been in the past.
You can’t prevent sick colleagues from coming in and spreading their germs around the workplace, but you can clean your own telephone and make sure that you clean off your desktop before you leave work for the day. While it may not surprise you to learn the dangers of the average desktop, it might make you more inclined to do what you can to keep your personal workspace as clean as possible.
Sick staff should stay at home
There has been a lot of research on how many working days are lost to sickness. Some employers make such a fuss when an employee is off ill that an increasing number of people will go into work even though they should really take the time off. Most people do not feel secure enough in their job so they hesitate to take time off when they are sick, which means they are helping to spread those germs round the office. Employers can do a lot to help their own businesses by placing more trust in their employees, allowing them to fully recover before coming back to work.