Resources > Blog > 3 Ways Your Team May be Sharing Germs at Work You Don't Realize
How clean is your work environment? If you can't respond to this question with confidence, the true answer is probably "not very." That being said, even if you're taking great care to clean high-touch surfaces like doorknobs and toilet handles, you're not doing enough.
Scientists and public health experts tell us that there are many hidden ways your team may be sharing germs without realizing it. Wiping down the bathroom sink handles isn't doing enough without also taking into account the other items on this list.
Hidden Ways Teams Share Germs
You don't want anyone on your team to be sick. You really don't want anyone on your team to be sick and then get everyone else sick too. Talk about a scheduling nightmare!
Yet, this can happen more easily than you imagine if you're not paying close enough attention to a few hot spot areas. Research tells us that one single germ can multiply into more than 8 million germs in one day. You want to pay special attention to the fact that:
#1 No one is replacing the office sponge
The communal break area or office kitchen is a hotspot for germs. This extends far beyond the germs that cause a simple cold. Over the years there have been many reports of how sponges, often used to clean kitchen counters and dishes, become a collection of germs and bacteria. For an item that's supposed to clean your communal break spot, sponges are surprisingly dirty. They are a breeding ground for bacteria, including E. Coli and salmonella since they're typically moist and porous. Many times, the office sponge is simply forgotten about and used time and time again, for years.
Experts recommend you replace these nasty sponges with paper towels or toss them in the dishwasher if you have one. The heat of the water and the cleaning solution will help kill some of the germs on the sponge.
#2 The team is all answering the same (dirty) phone
The phone is unique in the fact that it comes into close contact with both hands and mouths, both of which are notoriously dirty body parts. Workplace phones are germ hubs!
AARP recently published that according to a British cleaning company CSG, the most germ-ridden place in an office is the telephone, with 25,127 microbes per square inch. For comparison, a toilet seat "only" has 49 microbes per square inch.
Germs are quickly transferred onto the surface where they can infect the next person who answers it. Most office phones are rarely if ever cleaned, despite the fact that they are touched numerous times per day. Next time you or someone else is cleaning up, be sure to the entire phone is wiped down with a serious cleaner, like bleach wipes. In addition to the mouthpiece, do not forget the handset and buttons if your office phone has these features.
#3 Everyone is touching the same screen to clock in and out
When one person is a bit under the weather, every surface they touch becomes a breeding ground for germs. Let's say your team member, Zach, comes to work sick with the beginning stages of a cold, sneezing into his hand, and then clocking in for his shift. The Mayo Clinic tells us that the cold, flu, COVID, and other related viruses are able to stay infectious for several hours to even a few days, depending on where their droplets fall. The same experts also tell us that viruses generally stay active longer on stainless steel, plastic, and similar hard surfaces than on soft, fabric surfaces. This means Zach touching the shared computer screen to clock in is the perfect way to infect your entire staff on shift with him before they ever even come into contact with him.
This last scenario can be solved via a touchless time clock. With our time tracker employee scheduling software, your employees can use their own smartphones to clock in and out. Don't worry about anyone taking advantage, though– you still control the physical parameters of where and when they can access the time clock.
The same AARP article mentioned above says that a typical worker comes in contact with 10 million germs each day. Just one person carrying a virus can infect up to 50 percent of all employees and equipment in their vicinity in just four hours. Our time clock has a safe touchless mode where you can turn any mobile device into a time clock, meaning all employees can clock in and out from their phones without touching shared, physical surfaces.
Prioritize health safety with a touchless time clock. SubItUp's time tracker employee scheduling software is the solution you've been looking for! Our robust product offerings extend to anything and everything you need to successfully manage your workforce. You can schedule your team, allow them to trade shifts if they're sick, ensure their paycheck matches their actual shifts worked, and more – all from one central hub.
If you're ready to learn what our time tracker employee scheduling software can do for your team, we're excited to show you!