Where is the most germ-infested spot in your office (domestic or traditional)? Some studies provide a surprising answer: dirt and pathogens have a real passion for desks, and it’s the objects we place on our work tables that have to take the blame. A typical case is represented by keyboards and mouses: on their surfaces we can find bacterial colonies that are 170 times more populous than those measured on a toilet seat. This is nothing compared to the classic office badge, which can accommodate the bacterial load of 240 used tennis balls. The situation is slightly better for pens and phones, whose germs can compete with those of a crumpled banknote.

Order first

Let’s start with tidying up.

The first step is to reorganise and clean the available space: old papers, photographs and furnishings are magnets for dust and dirt, which hinder daily cleaning. Eliminate the superfluous and collect the rest in a container or in a document holder. Although our immune system does its part, it’s preferable these days to raise our guard and hygiene standards. Make sure you always have soap nearby to frequently wash your hands an don’t forget to use sanitising gel whenever you can.

Which products to use

Modern office furniture has specially treated surfaces that repel dirt and allow cleaning with sanitising sprays, including the more aggressive alcohol  or chlorine-based ones. It’s preferable not to apply these products directly: spray them on a cloth and wipe the surfaces thoroughly. Beware of delicate equipment, such as computer monitors, which must be treated strictly with specific products or a water dampened microfibre cloth.

To clean small objects (pens, staplers, USB sticks…), sanitising tissues are handy, but a simple detergent soaked cloth is a more eco-friendly choice. Concentrate on the places you touch the most: drawer handles, switches, plugs and remote controls. Make sure you only store items once the surfaces are dry.

A question of labelling

Dust mites, bacteria, mould, fungal spores and viruses lurk and reproduce undisturbed in the fibres of seats and sofas, favoured by darkness, heat and moisture created by sweat.
Quality office chairs and sofas are designed to be easy to wash. However, if the upholstery can’t be taken off, you can remove stains with a solution of lukewarm water and mild soap after vacuuming, always checking the label for any possible restrictions first. Dry-cleaning sprays and stain removers that kill bacteria, dust mites and fungi can be found on the market too.

Home office: burdens and honours

The DIY burden on smart workers also has some advantages. With a portable ozone generator (also available online), you can sanitise rooms from time to time with a thorough action on germs and viruses. But you can also follow the latest trend of Californian start-ups and make your home office shoe-free: along with your shoes, studies guarantee you will get rid of most of the bacterial colonies that proliferate on the floors.

Working in a healthy and tidy environment helps concentration, makes people work better and encourages team members to collaborate and work hard to keep it clean.