No one wants to admit to being a germophobe, but working in a confined space with dozens, possibly hundreds of other coworkers can make anyone with a strong stomach feel faint. The thought of all the germs, bacteria, and general gunk that circulate around the cubicles and on your desk can be more than a little off-putting. So how do you keep your work environment clean without sealing yourself in a plastic bubble?
I hate to break it to you, but keeping hand sanitizer in your drawer just won’t cut it anymore. Take a look at some of these quick tips on how to tidy up your office area so you can relax your germophobe tendencies during your daily grind.
Clean Your Computer
Start with the objects that are in front of you every single day. Your desk, chair, computer, and any other workplace paraphernalia should be the first things that you clean. Start by wiping down your desk with a sanitized towelette every morning to get rid of any germs that might settle there overnight. Next, do a light dusting of any computer monitors, picture frames, and filing cabinets that could collect sneeze-inducing dust.
Now it’s time to get into the detailed work of cleaning your computer. Make sure to be careful while you clean, because you don’t want to spill any cleaning liquids that could damage the hardware of your PC. Wondering how to clean a mechanical keyboard? Get a can of compressed air to blast out any dirt or crumbs that have fallen between keys, and then wipe it down with a towelette. When it comes to your screen, stick with a dry cloth to get rid of smudges and banish bacteria. The mouse, speakers, and any additional cables can all be cleaned with a damp rag and gentle cleaning solution.
Create Wellness Stations
Not everyone is as tidy as you, but you can encourage good habits by setting up wellness stations around the office. Kleenex, hand sanitizer, cough drops, and cleaning wipes are all great items to place at these strategic points around the room. Even the messiest co-workers will probably clean up their act if they have access to these helpful resources. While you can’t control what goes on in cubicles other than your own, you can certainly encourage healthier habits that will keep germs at bay.
Ask Your Boss to Sponsor Flu Shots
When flu season comes around, your coworkers start to drop like flies around you. The office is filled with incessant coughing and sneezing, and it makes your skin crawl to be around so many germs. The best way to prevent this hazmat situation from happening is by having work-sponsored flu shots. Ask your boss if the company would be willing to subsidize this quick and easy preventative measure, or even have a physician come to administer shots in the office.
Along with getting flu shots, make sure the office kitchen is well-stocked with cold remedy supplies. Tea, immune boosting supplements such as Emergen-C, and common medicine should all be readily available to co-workers who are worried about falling ill. Stop germs in their tracks by taking proactive action against a company-wide flu outbreak.
Bring Your Own Lunch
While it may be tempting to participate in Free Lunch Fridays or dig into the box of donuts on the counter every morning, shared food is a breeding ground for bacteria. Dirty hands, unwashed silverware, and even contaminated food could all interrupt your state of germ-free bliss. The only way to avoid this scenario is to bring your own food to the office.
Pack meals in Tupperware and bring your own silverware from home—that way you know exactly where your food has been. You might be bummed to not participate in a company potluck, but your immune system will thank you for not diving head-first into a petri dish or pre-made meals.
Unfortunately, you can’t control the actions of your co-workers when it comes to germs. The best you can do is keep your own space clean and encourage healthy habits by providing resources to the less germ-conscious people around you. But if you’re diligent about cleaning and maintaining a health-conscious culture, your germophobe fears should be laid to rest.