With the outbreak of the first corona wave in spring 2020, the number of people working from home increased dramatically. The high, as yet unassessable risk of infection and the need for childcare in most cases have shown that home office works in many industries. Gradually, however, many employees returned to their offices with newly acquired hygiene requirements for their surroundings. The open-plan office with a desk rotation for employees, the kitchenette, the toilet - all of them germ hotspots and now also potential corona infection sites. To ensure that employees also feel comfortable in the office again and are safe from infection, the topic of hygiene should therefore be right at the top of the executive agenda.
Many people are not aware of the infection traps lurking in the workplace. The trigger is usually a lack of hand hygiene, because according to the WHO, 80 percent of infectious diseases are transmitted via the hands and germs can spread throughout the office. One reason for this: 92 percent of the population do not wash their hands "properly", as an observational study by the SRH Heidelberg showed.
This is also evident on the desk. It's hard to imagine, but at 51 CFU*/sqin**, the bacterial load on a public toilet is almost 500 times lower than on a desk surface. Crumbs from eating at the workplace and the body heat of the resting arms and hands can also greatly promote the formation of germs. Therefore, not only in times of corona, hand hygiene and cleanliness are essential to prevent infections.
Thorough hand washing is a five-step process:
Hold hands under running water
Thoroughly soap hands - both palms and back of the hands, fingertips, finger gaps and thumbs. Also think about your fingernails. Liquid soaps are more hygienic than bars of soap, especially in public washrooms
Rub soap into all areas until hands are clean, but at least for 20 to 30 seconds
Rinse hands thoroughly under running water. In public toilets, use a disposable towel or elbow to close the tap.
Then dry your hands carefully, also in the spaces between your fingers. In public toilets, it is best to use disposable towels, at home use a personal towel.
Proper hand washing is therefore also an important part of office hygiene workshops, which can be an ideal supplement to existing company health management.
In the workshops, effective disinfection and correct hand washing are practiced in a clear and interactive way, and employees are generally sensitised to the topic of hygiene.
The aim is also to show individual strategies and develop them together in order to minimise the risk of infection in the office and to increase healthy interaction in the office. Only in this way can colleagues work together again with a good feeling and stay healthy.
* CFU: Colony-forming unit - single or several connected individuals of microorganisms that form a colony by multiplying in or on a gel nutrient medium.
** CFU per sqare inch = CFU per 6.45 qcm
Published: 11. December 2020
Photocredit: Udo Geisler & Heyfair