Recent studies have shown that clean, clutter-free desks are critical to workplace health, happiness, and productivity.
A Clean Desk is Key to Workplace Productivity
Several recent studies have shown that a messy desk can play host to numerous germs and bacteria--often testing positive or 400 times the germs found on the average office toilet seat, and 100 times less hygienic than a kitchen table.
Numerous research papers place the most germ-infested locations in any workplace on the desk, with commonly touched items such as phones, mice, and keyboards at the top of the list.
These germs can rapidly transfer from the contaminated surface to office workers and spread throughout the workplace in a matter of hours, compromising everyone, including guests and customers.
The issues do not stop with germs and bacteria-- messy desks are often cluttered desks, an issue that triggers undesirable reactions in the brain that distract workers and wreak havoc on productive and creative labor.
Fortunately, with the right tools and team members, the challenges arising from dirty desks are easily addressable--the results being a happier, healthier, and more engaged workforce.
The Facts Regarding Dirty Desks
A challenge facing facilities and office managers, as well as the cleaning industry as a whole, has been the misdirected focus of cleaning efforts.
A recent study conducted by Dr. Charles Gerba of the University of Arizona, and funded by a grant from the Clorox Co., found that;
[...] surfaces in personal work areas such as offices and cubicles had higher bacteria levels than surfaces in common areas.
Telephones are the most popular germ home, followed by desks, water fountain handles, microwave door handles and computer keyboards.
Surprisingly, toilet seats consistently had the lowest bacteria levels of the 12 surfaces tested in the study.
Another common issue is desktop clutter which, according to David Allen, creator of Getting Things Done;
When your space is filled up with things you haven’t organized, all of those things are constantly ‘yelling’ at you.
[...] this drains your energy and focus, even if you don’t realize it
The combination of cluttered and dirty desks contributes to a host of mental and physical health issues that negatively impact the workplace.
However, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the solution is simple--clean off and wipe down the desks every day.
How to Keep Your Desk Clean
According to the previously citied Clorox Co. study conducted by Dr. Gerba, wiping down your desk and electronic equipment every day can reduce the bacteria count by 99.9%.
Conversely, the study found that desks that were not cleaned daily experienced an increase in bacteria by 19-31% by the end of the workday.
But, just how much bacteria are we talking about?
The area where you rest your hand on your desk has – on average – 10 million bacteria.
Providing office workers with disinfectant wipes and encouraging them to clean off and wipe down the desks every day is a good idea, but one that falls short of guaranteeing full surface coverage and adequate disinfection.
A more strategic approach includes:
- Providing office employees with enough storage to put away all their work material and keep their desktop clutter-free--this will significantly improve cleaning and disinfection efforts, as well as increase mental clarity during the workday.
- Wipe down the desktops and phones with microfiber and a certified green cleaning product.
- Regularly disinfect the desks, computer equipment, phones, and office furniture with an electrostatic disinfection appliance.
- Ensure workers are following handwashing guidelines, and;
- Prevent workers from eating at their desks.
References & Resources
- Where do germs flourish in your office? Study reveals dirtiest surfaces
- Your Desk Is A 'Bacteria Cafeteria'
- Good Desk Hygiene Is Key To Productivity
- Why You Should Maintain Good Desk Hygiene at All Times
Office desktops and computer equipment are hotbeds for germs and bacteria and, if they are not adequately cleaned daily and disinfected regularly severe psychological and physical health issues can manifest and spread throughout your facility, destroying productivity and workplace engagement.
Asking office workers to tidy up after themselves, or providing them with tools to disinfect their workspace is one thing, but expecting them to maintain their desks and equipment on par with a professional and dedicated custodial service provider is somewhat misguided.
Outsourcing your office's cleaning and infection prevention and control needs to a professional team of trained and dedicated service providers is a proven method for cost-effectively ensuring a safe, healthy, and productive work environment.
Contact us today and discover why Vanguard Cleaning Systems® is the Standard of Clean® for businesses throughout Northwest Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.
In Oklahoma, dial 918-960-4450
In Arkansas, dial 479-717-2410
In Missouri, dial 417-812-9777