According to statistics, a whopping 95% of people don’t wash their hands well enough to get rid of harmful bacteria. And two-thirds admitted to not using soap when sanitising their hands after going to the bathroom.
This got us thinking about our individuality as human beings. Whilst most of us pay average attention to our personal hygiene, for example, there are some amongst us who deodorise on the hour, every hour. Spotless Sandys: you’ll find them routinely applying perfume and using hand-gel every single time they touch something. Their homes and workspaces are truly immaculate.
However, at the other end of the cleanliness scale, there will be the Grubby Guys: people for whom hygiene isn’t a priority, with their dirty fingernails and yesterday’s clothes.
No one died from working with either of these extremes, but our point is: you don’t really know the habits of the people you work with.
It doesn’t hurt anyone to consider those around them, and how much of a ‘germ-spreader’ they actually are.
You may be someone who prefers to eat their dinner at their desk, rather than at the table in the canteen. The canteen will be cleaned regularly, however, and any crumbs from food will be captured and disposed of; any crumbs that fall from your sandwich will likely become wedged in-between the keys of your keyboard. Yes, your desk may only see you sitting at it (in most offices), but if your company’s culture is that employees hot-desk, do give some thought to the people who will sit there, too. Just because your immune system manages to flourish under less-than-clean conditions doesn’t mean everyone else’s will.
The saying goes: clear desk, clear mind, but most of us clutter up our desks with paperwork, stationery, personal effects and food. You should make it part of your weekly (daily, if possible) routine to go through everything within your work space, and bin/recycle what you don’t need – not just to help keep your workplace clean and tidy, it will also help you keep track of your work priorities/to-do list.
There’s always one in the office who never washes up, who puts their mug/plate/bowl in the shared kitchen sink for someone else to sort. There can be a plethora of ‘Wash up after you!’ posters on the wall but they rarely make a difference to these guys. If they have some poor soul to do all their washing up at home, you can see why that same attitude to domesticity plays out at work, too.
We’re advocates of cleaning, as you’d expect – true angels when it comes to cleanliness. However, we know how easy it is to forget basic hygiene principles when you’re facing a deadline, or when you can only concentrate on a specific project. The thing with habits is that they can be changed; for example, if you wash up after yourself every day for thirty days, this will become a subconscious act.
Pristine cleans what the naked eye can see, but bugs and bacteria are clearly too small for even our cleaners to spot; that’s why good, individual hygiene practices help keep workplaces healthy and safe for everyone.