Workplace hygiene is not a topic to take lightly.
No matter what industry you’re in, good hygiene in the workplace is essential. It’s not only a legal requirement to ensure the health and safety of employees but failing to ensure workplace hygiene is up to scratch can spread disease, reduce attendance and make your organisation a less attractive place to work and visit.
However, as a place where so many people spend large proportions of time in close proximity, maintaining a clean and safe working environment can be challenging.
To help, phs has created this complete guide to hygiene in the workplace.
What is Workplace Hygiene?
Workplace hygiene practices are company-wide policies that ensure the delicate issue of hygiene can be managed carefully and effectively.
First of all, let’s look at why workplace hygiene is important.
Keeping your workplace clean and safe promotes a healthy working environment for employees. Depending on what industry you work in, the onus on you may be even greater.
What’s more, a clean environment leads to employees who are proud of where they work, are more engaged and are more willing to go the extra mile as well as cutting down on sick days and reducing the risk of accidents. Compare this to the alternative! It also makes sure visitors and customers get a great impression of your organisation which may increase their visits or dwell time. Conversely, if a premises doesn’t appear hygienic and inviting, you’ll send them running for the hills.
With this in mind, we’re sure you will agree on the importance of a strict and efficient workplace hygiene strategy. So, let’s look at some of the safe and hygienic working practices you should be employing with phs’ workplace hygiene tips.
Workplace Hygiene Tips
1. Promote Hand Hygiene
Handwashing and hand sanitiser have always been an important element in hygiene – something we know more than ever as a result of the pandemic. Quick, easy and affordable, it is the most effective way to prevent the spread of germs.
This relies on two elements: providing the right facilities and your staff adopting good hand-washing practices. You can help by increasing access to handwashing and providing ample and well-stocked supplies of soap, water and a method to dry hands (either a hand dryer or paper towels) as wet hands can spread germs more easily. Frequent hand-sanitising stations throughout your premises boosts usage and there are a range of options available including wall mounted or portable units and even sanitisers incorporated into planters which look good as well as providing a functional purpose.
Finally, you can encourage good hand hygiene among staff through regular communication and posters as reminders to prompt handwashing at regular intervals.
2. Allow Sick Days
You may have a set protocol to clean your workplace floors, kitchens and washrooms. But what about the air? Indoor air can be five times more polluted than outdoor air and is shared by every single person within a workplace environment. It also carries germs and viruses and facilities the spread of illnesses. Yet many of us think little about cleaning the air we breathe.
Air purifiers work by physically cleaning impurities from the air. The range of phs AERAMAX air purifiers remove up to 99.99% of particulates from the air. They are proven to capture germs and viruses including colds, flus and coronaviruses as well as pollutants and allergens such as dust, pollen and VOCs. Also removing odours, air purifiers can create a cleaner, healthier and more hygienic workplace environment.
3. Set Hygiene Procedures and Expectations
Unfortunately, not everyone will uphold the strictest hygiene protocols at work. And it only takes one individual to upset even the highest of standards.
Laying down ground rules for workplace hygiene, educating your employees and promoting compliance will save you a lot of resource, sick days and headaches in the long run.
Set out what you’re doing to maintain hygiene so staff can see the efforts you’re making and therefore be more inspired to contribute. In addition, communicate your expectations of your employees in being responsible for their own hygiene from regular handwashing and ensuring a tidy, clean work area to removing food from fridges at the end of the week and catching coughs and sneezes.
Implement a daily staff clean-up which could include tasks such as clearing desks, washing up mugs and utensils and disposing of rubbish will turn these actions into a habit, embedding good practice and hygiene into your organisation.
4. Stock Up on Consumables
If your business is constantly growing and staff numbers are changing or if you have varying levels of visitors, staying on top of consumables such as toilet roll and handwash can be challenging.
It’s always better to be overstocked than run out so err on the side of caution when purchasing washroom consumables.
Minor issues such as a cubicle running out of toilet paper or paper towels can lead to a backlog of uncleanliness that has an immediate impact and needs additional resource to rectify even when items have been restocked.
In addition, consider what else you can provide to boost staff hygiene whether its tissues, hand sanitisers, cleaning wipes or disinfectant for desks, telephones and workspaces.
For support, talk to phs who can take care of your consumable needs; regularly delivering and installing consumables without interfering with everyday activities in your business, including a convenient reordering system that means you never need to run out again.
5. Set Up a Hygiene Waste Disposal System
A well-planned and efficient waste disposal strategy is required to ensure hygiene waste is removed as efficiently as possible. Any kinks in the system will lead to waste hanging around, which can only mean unpleasant smells, mess and spillage, and even sickness.
Hygiene waste bins should be emptied and serviced on a regular basis.
phs is an industry leader in waste management and can take care of your waste disposal services, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business, safe in the knowledge that your working environment is clean and well-maintained. And as part of our commitment to do the right thing, phs even diverts hygiene waste from landfill and into energy recovery which helps the planet as well as boosting your sustainability achievements.
6. Enforce Designated Eating and Drinking Areas
Eating and drinking at the desk may be seen as convenient to staff but it can lead to mess, create a breeding ground for bacteria and encourages bad habits.
Having a designated eating and drinking area contains food waste to one area, making it a lot easier to clean. It also prevents distractions and eliminates the risk of food stains, smells, unpleasant spillages and mess. It also prompts staff to take a break from their desk rather than remaining seated all day.
These designated areas should have extra cleaning protocols, including disinfecting surfaces and equipment such as kettles, toasters and microwaves and making sure everything is comprehensively cleaned from top to bottom at least once per week.
You can help by providing consumables such as gloves, washing-up liquid and disinfectant to equip staff to clean up after themselves; and remind them of their responsibility to do so. Utensils should be washed in warm soapy water before being rinsed and dried with preparation and eating areas wiped after use. Let there be no excuse for this not to be done properly by providing the right materials.
To learn more about how we can manage all of this for you allowing you to focus on your business, take a look at our latest case study on washroom hygiene solutions!
Get help with workplace hygiene
Workplace hygiene was catapulted to the top of the agenda during the COVID-19 pandemic. We must learn from this experience and maintain stringent hygiene principles that helped to limit the spread of germs to create cleaner, healthier workplaces now and for the future. This will reduce sickness and lead to happier staff, increased workflow and improved productivity.
phs can support your organisation deliver best in class hygiene management, taking the onus and hassle away and allowing you to focus on your business. To learn more, take a look at our Washroom Hygiene Services pages, and get in touch today.