Choose another country or region to see content specific to your location.

Company News

Company News

Germ warfare starts in the office

Posted on 30 March 2004 |

Absenteeism through illness costs the UK economy a staggering 10.7 billion pounds. The bare cost to employers of worker absences (not including the cost to the economy in lost productivity) is over 500 million pounds in wages and benefits paid for work not done. This equates to a huge 192 million lost working days in one year alone! Little wonder that employers are looking for ways to stem the tide of these lost man hours.

One area that is big news at the moment is computer and workstation hygiene - or lack of it, when you consider that statistics show that only 1 in 20 of installed PC's are cleaned regularly. Quite why this basic housekeeping is so neglected can only be guessed, but dirty PC's and office equipment contribute greatly to absenteeism through illness.

On a telephone alone, 2000 bugs can remain live at any one time, so is it any wonder that germs and viruses can spread like wildfire? Just think of the implication if phones are shared, or in hotdesk situations where headsets are interchanged between worker shifts.

Tip any keyboard on its end, give it a shake, and stand back as food particles, eyelashes, hair, fingernails, crisps and biscuit crumbs cascade. Worse still are the invisible nasties such as saliva, dead skin cells and body fat that can be found in most keyboards. The humble screen isn't exempt from this germ warfare either, touch a dirty screen and you immediately transfer germs to the fingertips. Put those fingers in your mouth and you could be eating someone else's dead skin! A sobering thought.

Although office cleaning staff are rarely trusted to clean IT equipment, they often give the telephones a quick flick with a duster and traditional wax-based cleaner. In reality though, the wax layers are creating an even better breeding ground for germs to survive and thrive, and the more cleaning staff dust, the more the germs are spread. So the last phone in the cleaning queue is the proud owner of everyone else's germs.

A correct and regular workstation cleaning regime is the only way to reduce the number of germs, and thus reduce the risk of infection through viruses. Regular use of a dedicated anti-bacterial, anti-static cleaner can keep surfaces germ free and hygienically clean. In addition regular use of such products will reduce the build up of dust and dirt that plays a part in causing eyestrain, a condition that is worsening as we spend more and more time glued to our PCs and laptops.