Biking to work has become an increasingly popular form of commute for many in large metropolitan areas, but it does come with some consequences, specifically regarding workplace health and hygiene.
Workplace Hygiene Challenges for Bicycle Commuters
Bicycling as a form of commute to and from the workplace has several advantages for both workers and businesses--chief among them, healthier workers are more engaged and productive.
However, a bicycle commute does not come without its challenges, specifically office hygiene.
Compounding the issue--regardless of how a business chooses to address the health and workplace hygiene challenges of bicycle commuters, additional cleaning challenges will arise, including:
- Bike storage - Bicycle tires pick up all the germs, bacteria, chemicals, and dirt that our shoes do as we walk around town and track them inside of the building. Where bicycles are stored and how those spaces are cleaned will have a direct impact on the health, safety, and presentation of your workplace.
- Biker hygiene - Vigorous exercise means sweat and, while sweat does not inherently carry disease, it can function as a transmission device to other surfaces. Additionally, as bacteria on our skin metabolizes the sweat, odors are produced that will negatively impact the rest of the staff. This challenge can be significantly exacerbated where bicycle sharing programs are regularly employed, due to the high levels of surface contamination on the handlebars.
- Locker and shower facilities - Many bicycle commuters, especially those in emerging demographics, are advised to seek employment from businesses that are bicycle-friendly, which means showers and locker rooms, which carry a laundry list of cleaning and disinfection requirements of their own. The consequence of not providing these facilities could, in effect, reduce your organization's appeal to young talent.
Addressing the Office Hygiene Challenges for Bicycle Commuters
The first challenge any office manager or business owner will need to address in regards to the allowance of bicycle commuting is storage.
Outdoor storage has some drawbacks, specifically in regards to the safety of the equipment, but will reduce the dirt, germs, and chemicals the tires pick up on the road from being transferred onto your floors.
Conversely, indoor storage mandates regular floor and entry mat maintenance to prevent these germs and other particles from negatively impacting indoor air quality and fouling up your organization's professional appearance.
For those that choose to take advantage of bicycle sharing programs, you will want to make hand sanitizer readily available at the entrance and implement regular wipe downs of door handles and other high-touch surfaces to prevent the spread of the numerous germs found on the handlebars.
The title for the grossest public object in New York City goes to Citi Bikes.
Turns out, the handlebars on these communal bikes are less hygienic than the hold bars on subway trains—45 times germier to be exact.
Smells & Germs
The second challenge is hygiene, specifically the smell from sweaty bodies and how that impacts fellow office workers, as well as the germs sweat can transmit.
In regards to body odor, it's safe to assume that it will negatively impact the mood, behavior, and work performance of a good portion of your staff who must work in close proximity to the worker(s) in question.
According to Scientific American;
A number of studies have shown that the odors people like make them feel good, whereas odors people dislike make them feel bad. These mood responses have also been reported physiologically.
Downstream from how odors influence our moods is the way that moods influence how we think (cognition) and how we act (behavior).
In terms of cognition, mood has been shown to influence creativity with the typical finding that people in a positive mood exhibit higher levels of creativity than individuals in a bad mood.
Odors can also produce the same effects.
Taking this one step further is the way in which mood influences on thinking are translated into observable behavior.
A growing body of literature shows that positive mood is linked to an increase in productivity, performance and the tendency to help others, while negative mood reduces prosocial behavior.
Further, as previously noted, sweat can act as a transmission device for several types of dangerous germs and bacteria, including:
- Hepatitis B.
- The common cold.
- Influenza, and;
The most obvious solution to these challenges is the provision of shower and locker facilities for bicycle commuters to wash up.
Showers & Locker Rooms
Showers and locker rooms present their own health and hygiene challenges, including playing host to the same germs transmitted by sweat.
Just like restrooms, they will need to be cleaned and disinfected every day.
Additional policies should be enforced requiring locker room users to remove their gym bags every day, provide their own shower towels and toiletries, and clean up after themselves as much as possible.
In regards to cleanliness and sanitation, the most critical areas to focus on will be:
- The floor, which should be mopped daily, and scrubbed weekly, at a minimum.
- The showers, which should be cleaned and disinfected daily, and;
- The lockers, which should be disinfected at least weekly.
Employing an electrostatic disinfection appliance will significantly reduce the amount of time required to sanitize these facilities while ensuring the high standard of cleanliness.
Bicycle commuting has increased in popularity, especially in large metropolitan areas where cars and public transportation have become increasingly problematic and expensive.
While bicycling offers the benefits of improved health for the commuter-worker, which tends to translate into better performance at the office, it is not without its drawbacks, specifically workplace hygiene.
Implementing a high-performance cleaning and disinfection program will ensure that everyone gets what they want while remaining safe and healthy.
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
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