Hot-desks are a particularly attractive option for employers and have become increasingly popular in recent years, as some companies report savings of up to 30% on the costs of running an office¹. Over ⅓ of office workers in the UK are now thought to work at shared workspaces², such savings are fantastic in theory but one negative implication could be the higher transfer of germs and resulting increase in illness. A recent study claimed that hot-desking increased the microbiological activity by 18 per cent³. Sickness absence and worklessness costs the UK economy more than £100 billion per year⁴ with 131 million working days lost to illness⁵.
Fortunately, there are a few simple ways to encourage better hot-desk hygiene and decrease the risk of transmission of germs between staff and reduce absenteeism in the process.
- Clean workstations regularly – Establish a tidy desk policy in your office, encourage employees to clean desks daily and leave long-lasting antibacterial wipes out on desks for convenient clean-up of spills and dirt.
- Keep food in the cafeteria – Currently over half of UK office workers regularly eat at their desk⁶, but crumbs and debris only encourage the growth of bacteria, so banish the snacks to the kitchen.
- Practise good hand hygiene – Approximately 80% of common infections are transmitted by touch⁷, by providing an alcohol-free hand sanitiser for staff and visitor use, you could reduce this risk considerably in your workplace.
- Encourage sick leave – By providing sick pay and supporting staff to work from home when they feel it’s appropriate, your team will be less likely to bring contagious germs and infections to work, worried that they won’t be paid for staying at home to recover.
By implementing these simple steps and making the wellbeing of your staff a priority, you could save your company considerable strain on resource due to absenteeism and improve productivity.
- https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/working-for-a-healthier-tomorrow-work-and-health-in-britain 5. https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/workplacehealth/Pages/workplaceoverview.aspx