The truth about dirty offices and your unhygienic colleagues

| June 20, 2019

Hot desking, eating lunch at your desk rather than taking a lunch break and failure to wash hands are contributing to unhygienic workplaces according to a recent survey.

SMC Premier Cleaning surveyed over office workers to uncover the dirty truth about their cleanliness. Surprisingly not everyone is as hot on hygiene as you may hope.

You may want to think twice before shaking a client’s hand or having contact with a colleague after they’ve been to the toilet as the survey revealed that 14% decide when to wash their hands after going to the bathroom, leaving 7% who admitted to not washing their hands at all and 18% washing their hands quickly. Only 61% of office employees wash their hands properly with warm water and soap. Women are slightly more hygienic with 66% saying they wash their hands thoroughly, compared to 53% of men.

Busy working days can result in office workers not taking a proper lunchbreak. 26% of respondents say they eat at their desk at least 1-3 times per week. A quarter of office workers will eat 3-5 days and 4% eat lunch at their desk every day. Surprisingly only 11% will clean their workspace properly after eating. 38% will do a ‘quick clean’, putting wrappers in the bin. 45% claim never to spill a crumb on their desk (yeah sure), leaving 7% who are too lazy to care and refuse to clean up after themselves.

Hot desking has grown in popularity over the years but is it hygienic? Shockingly 44% had never considered the possibility that hot-desking could be germ-ridden and are happy to sit wherever. 12% of hot deskers are fussy about where they work and will only sit at desk if they know it’s been cleaned first. 38% believe hot desking to be unhygienic, as you don’t know who’s been sat there.

Oliver Byrne, Operations Director at SMC Premier said the results for this survey highlight that cleanliness at work is paramount for a healthy and happy office. Here are our top tips for keeping your workplace clean:

  • Hand hygiene gels are recommended to have around the office and should be encouraged to use on a regular basis. It’s not to replace washing your hands, but it will definitely help with reducing germs.
  • Make sure you clean your office on a regular basis, rather than just a once a week big clean
  • Cloths or mops must be germ-free or they’ll spread simply germs to other surfaces. If you don’t have an office cleaner draw up a rota to make sure that these get disinfected or changed regularly.
  • Invest in bins with a foot pedal, rather than everyone having to touch the bin lid.
  • Clean hard floors regularly with warm water and detergent and use a steam cleaner on carpets and sofas.’