If your business is office based, it's highly likely that your staff will use a computer keyboard almost every day. But did you know that, according to research carried out by Which magazine, the company loo probably harbours far less germs that most office keyboards? Sickness-inducing bugs like MRSA, MSSA, and even E. coli have been found hiding on computer keyboards, together with some forms of bacteria that are directly associated with poor hand hygiene. In fact, using dirty keyboards could be one reason for high sickness absence levels among your staff.
So, how do you ensure that your office keyboards remain germ-free? Well, a good commercial cleaning company will regularly disinfect and deep-clean your keyboards for you, but there are steps your staff can take too.
How to banish dirty QWERTYs
- Many of the germs harboured by keyboards are carried on people's hands directly after a visit to the loo. Introduce a 'hand washing' initiative to your staff with prominently displayed signs on loo and staff kitchen doors reminding people to wash their hands following bathroom visits.
- Provide antibacterial handwash dispensers for staff use in kitchens, loos, and in areas where food is consumed.
- Introduce a policy prohibiting eating at desks. This will avoid bacteria fodder like crumbs from ending up in keyboards. Of course, you'll also need to provide an area where staff can take coffee and lunch breaks away from their desks, which shouldn't have a keyboard in it.
- Direct sunlight kills most bacteria, so if possible, encourage your staff to leave their window blinds up outside of working hours to allow the sun's UV rays to shine down onto the keyboard.
- For a modest investment, you can buy waterproof keyboard covers that are fully washable. These prevent food debris and dirt from becoming trapped underneath the keys, and germs can simply be wiped away with disinfectant wipes once a week.
- Encourage your staff to give their keyboards a quick once-over at the end of every week. Tip the keyboard upside down and tap it gently to get rid of crumbs, dust, and fluff, and then blow away any deeply entrenched dirt with a compressed air pen. To finish off, wipe the keys over with an alcohol wipe.
You can help to keep staff sickness levels down by keeping their keyboards germ-free. Follow the guidelines given above and ask your commercial cleaning contractor to give all your office keyboards a thorough deep clean regularly.