We know there are many dangers present in the workplace. Machinery is an important one to be aware of, and trip hazards are another. You also need to consider security, both physical and cyber – these can all contribute to employee sickness, including stress, anxiety, or physical problems. However, what you might not have considered is that your workplace itself, the office you are working in, could also be a danger. It might be making you and your employees sick.
This is a problem for a number of reasons. Firstly, you have a duty of care to protect your staff, and the public who might enter the building. Secondly, employees who are unwell are less productive (and may even be at home), causing you financial issues. You might not be able to fulfill orders, for example.
Even if you work alone at home, there are potential problems that might be hiding there, and they might be making you far less physically and mentally fit than you should be – and far less efficient in terms of your job too. Read on to find out what some of these problems are, and how you can address them.
- Your Dirty Keyboard
Perhaps you have a good cleaning schedule and you make sure that once a week or so, you clean everything, dusting the shelves, vacuuming the floor, maybe even cleaning the windows. This will make your room look and feel great, so what else could be wrong? The answer is your keyboard. If you don’t clean your keyboard at the same time as cleaning everything else, you’re potentially missing the most important element – and the dirtiest.
The problem is that you touch your keyboard all the time. Debris falls into it, germs are transferred to and from it, and if you don’t wash your hands enough, those germs can easily make you sick. Therefore, when you clean your office, make sure you clean your keyboard too; you can even buy specially designed products to make this easier. If you have someone else come in to clean your workplace, ask them to add your keyboard to their task list, or make sure you do it yourself.
- Your Unhealthy Air Conditioning
A lot of offices and homes have air conditioning units installed. They’re great for when it’s hot outside as you can switch it on and feel a lot more comfortable. Since being too hot makes people much less productive, it makes sense to have an AC unit in your workplace. If you work from home, not only will this help make you more productive, but it will also make your home more comfortable in general.
Unfortunately, a poorly maintained air conditioning unit can be dangerous. One problem that can be caused by these units is legionnaires’ disease, wherein droplets of water contaminated with legionella bacteria are inhaled, causing lung problems – this can sometimes even be fatal. Other problems include mold forming due to dampness. On top of that, a poorly performing AC unit will be an expensive thing to have in your office.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to have your air conditioning unit regularly serviced by experts like Kaiser Air Conditioning & Heating. In this way, you can prevent big problems from occurring – big problems that will cost a lot of money and may even be prohibitively expensive – and ensure that not only is your workplace safer, but that you aren’t paying out for unnecessary cooling either.
- Staying In For Lunch
Although this problem isn’t necessary something that is caused by your workplace, it’s still an issue that needs to be dealt with. So many people don’t take a proper lunch break, and instead they will stay at their desks, eating their food there. This is problematic for a number of reasons. The first is that you will be making your keyboard even dirtier, thanks to crumbs and other food and beverage spillages, as well as your dirty hands touching the keyboard after eating, or touching your food after typing. Either way, one or both will become contaminated and that could make you sick.
Another problem is that if you stay at your desk to eat, you never really get a break from work. You might tell yourself you won’t answer emails or finish a report when you’re meant to be at lunch, but it’s tempting when it’s right there in front of you. If you moved away from your desk and into a dedicated break room or even outside on a nice day, you won’t have this temptation, and you can truly relax, re-set, and be re-energized when you get back to work.
Finally, when you don’t move around a lot and have a sedentary job, you can become sick. You can become overweight, plus your circulation might suffer, and you could even develop blood clots. It’s better to get up and move around (ideally outside as fresh air is highly beneficial), and your lunch break is the perfect opportunity to do just that.