The average person spends around 8 hours at work, with others taking even longer in the office. Although you may be focused on beating the set deadlines and be able to fend for your family, you still need to ensure the working environment is clean healthy. While the office cleaner may be responsible for cleaning everything in the office, you still have to do some cleaning yourself. Some office areas/things tend to collect dirt and germs quickly, hence they should be kept clean all the time. Here are some of the nastiest things/areas in the office, and how to keep them clean.

1. The Telephone

Although essential, the office telephone is one of the nastiest things in any work environment. The more buttons the desk phone has, the more space for gunk to build up. Since the phone is designed to sit within reach and by your face, it can collect dirt from all manner of things from breadcrumbs, burger, and other undesirable microscopic bits. 

Failure to clean the phone and especially the area around the buttons will leave nasty surprises for you. For this reason, it would be advisable to clean it every once in a while, or the first thing when you come to work.  All you’ll need is a cotton swab and a tiny amount of alcohol to clean it. Swab the mouthpiece, receiver, and buttons with the cotton buds to clean dirt and grime. You can also hand disinfectant to wipe the surface of the phone to remove stains, spills, and dirt. 

The receiver can collect ear wax over time, with the mouthpiece collecting even more gunk. Use a dry toothbrush to brush off the debris off the phone. Do this every day to keep dirt and germs at bay.

2. The Keyboard

The computer keyboard, like the phone, is a magnet for crumbs, dirt, and all forms of grime. Left unchecked, your keyboard will keep a record of all the meals you have ever had on your desk for the past few months, literally.  Dedicate a few minutes of your time once a week to clean the keyboard. 

Start by unplugging the keyboard (or remove the battery for wireless keyboards), stand it right, then give it a good shake. Loose crumbs will fall off from the spaces first. Next, take a can of compressed air and blast the keys using top to bottom motion. This should loosen and remove gunk from the keyboard surface and under the keys. The next step will be to use a cotton swab to clean around each and every key. You’ll need to be patient enough to clean all the keys perfectly. The final step would be to use a disinfectant to wipe off the keyboard surface, as well as the crumb collection on your table surface.

3. The Mouse

The mouse collects dirt over time too. To clean your mouse, unplug it from the computer (or remove the battery for wireless mice), and blast compressed air into the openings to remove dirt. You can also use a dry toothbrush to remove hard to reach parts of the mouse. Deep clean the mouse well and buttons to remove dead skin and other forms of dirt from the same. Spray some disinfectant on a microfiber cloth then give the mouse a good wipe. This should remove any stains and oils from the surface, leaving it clean and shiny. 

4. Everything in the Office Kitchen

Most office setups have a dedicated kitchen area. Unlike your home kitchen, the office kitchen is communal. Almost everyone in the office shares the space to prepare or warm their food. This thus means dozens of hands touch the coffee maker, fridge, water cooler, microwave, water fountains, and vending machines in an hour. Such traffic increases the risk of dirt and germ accumulation/spread in the kitchen, making it one of the nastiest places in the office.  You, therefore, ought to be careful when using the kitchen utensils and appliances. 

5. Everything Else in The Kitchen

There are more things in the office than regular phones, computers, and desks. The office holds other people’s stuff as well, which again makes it harder to control or keep clean. Everyone has his/her definition of hygiene and cleanliness. Some of the staff may be strict with their health, while others might not care so much. For this reason, the large soup of other people’s items increases the risk of bacteria and germs spreading throughout the workplace. Just because you haven’t been catching a cold lately doesn’t mean there aren’t germs there. It could be because you are careful, and your immunity is strong enough to fend the infections off. 

There is a good chance your office already has a green commercial cleaning service provider in place.  While the cleaning company may do a perfect job in keeping the office clean, they most certainly cannot cover every inch of the office. Think of it this way; do they clean the handrails on stairs, the switch, or the photocopier buttons every hour? All these companies do is do the primary clean up job as required of them. This means some areas may go unnoticed, such as the switch, leaving them exposed to germs and bacteria. 

Do most office staff take sick leaves often? If they do, chances are the office isn’t as clean and hygienic as it should. While it would be advisable to take all the precautionary measures to maintain proper hygiene, it might be time to talk to the office manager about the same. He/she will see the urgency and most certainly do something about it. Some companies will go the extra step to pay for a comprehensive cleaning service. This way, the cleaning company will be tasked with cleaning and disinfecting heavily used electronics, points of contact, and other surfaces as well.  No one wants half of their staff to call in sick. 

While having a detailed cleaning service ready may help keep the office environment clean, the staff too ought to be proactive to make it possible.

Here are a few tips on how to keep the office environment safe and clean

1. Invest in sanitizing wipes – Although you might not be a fan of wipes, they do come in handy in keeping surfaces clean in the office. Unless you already have a linen service, the staff will use the wipes to wipe/clean items in the bathroom, kitchenette, and the office as well. The best thing with wipes in the office is that no one will ever have to worry about laundering towels and cloths. This thus means a cleaner office. 

2. Make available a disinfectant spray bottle – While it may seem like overkill, a disinfectant spray bottle will enable staff to practice hygiene instinctively. This way, they will find themselves using the disinfectant after using the bathroom, kitchen, and other areas as well. The disinfectant will also come in handy in situations where a bug/flu is going around.  The disinfectant can also be used to clean worktops and surfaces around the workplace. Making the disinfectant spray bottle available will also help employees want to clean their worktops with it. This thus reduces the risk of germ spread around the workplace.  

3. Wash your hands – Cleanliness in the workplace starts with you.  Washing your hand after visiting the bathroom, the kitchen, and even before having a snack will help keep germs at bay. Wash your hands to protect yourself from nasty bugs, colds and flu. This is also important if there’s a flu going around in the office.

You spend lots of hours and a better part of your life in the office. Although all you want is to be able to provide for your family, you need to be careful enough not to contract an infection from the office. The best way to do this would be to be mindful of your hygiene by ensuring the work environment is clean. The few minutes you spend cleaning the mouse, keyboard, and the telephone could save you days of agonizing pain from an infection. In addition to this, you get to enjoy your stay in the office. Follow the tips outlined above, just to be safe.