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Open-Concept Office is a Germ’s Paradise

Patrick Boshell
March 20, 2018

 Office Germs

In today’s modern working environment, the cubical office environment has been swapped out for the open-concept office space. Over the last several years, open-concept offices are on the rise throughout the world. While these spaces offer a modern, more collaborative working environment, they also pose a serious threat to employees’ health. Between shared desks, common contact surfaces and extended interactions at close proximity, employees share germs much more frequently, making it easy for illnesses like the flu to spread rapidly.

 

According to the National Center for Biotechnology, occupants who work in an open-plan office have significantly more days of sickness absence than occupants in cellular offices.[1] Absenteeism can consume as much as 22 percent of an organization’s payroll[2]. Seasonal influenza results in about three to five million cases of severe illness[3] annually. In order to keep an open-concept office space healthy and free of germs, it’s important to enforce hygiene at all times and take precautions.

 

Improving Office Hygiene

 

One of the best ways to decrease germs in the office is encouraging hand hygiene through a hand hygiene compliance program. Considering that 80 percent of germs is spread through hands, it’s vital that employees wash their hands throughout the day, especially after touching commonly used objects or coming in contact with another worker. Another way to limit office germs is by encouraging employees to get their flu shots and to stay home when sick. However, as beneficial as these tactics are, many employees still come into work knowingly ill and skip their annual flu shot.

 

In an effort to combat germs in the workplace, a recent study by BioCote® took a unique approach by putting their antimicrobial technology to the test. The study replaced regular office products within an open-concept working environment with products that incorporated BioCote’s antimicrobial silver-ion technology, such as desks, chairs, computer keyboards and mice, pens, erasers and even Deb’s hand soap dispensers. The office supplies were contained in the same environment, cleaned and maintained in the same way and used by the same people over a six month period.

 

Once complete, the study found a startling difference between the two sets of products in bacteria count. Compared to the regular, untreated products, there was 93 percent reduction rate in bacteria on the treated products. The untreated products had an average of nearly 400 colony count, whereas the BioCote treated products had less than 30.

 

The total bacteria reductions found in each product included:

 

  • Whiteboard pens – 99.49 percent reduction
  • Soap dispenser – 97.89 percent reduction
  • Desk – 95.14 percent reduction
  • Whiteboard rubber – 91.80 percent reduction
  • Computer keyboard – 89.34 percent reduction
  • Water dispenser – 85.63 percent reduction
  • Corkboard – 84.47 percent reduction
  • Computer mouse – 83.21 percent reduction
  • Chair – 80.23 percent reduction
  • Whiteboard – 73.44 percent reduction

 

Creating a Clean-Concept Office

 

Antimicrobial technology such as BioCote does not replace regular cleaning, but it does provide a significant reduction in present bacteria on treated products. For high-touch surfaces, like soap dispensers and pens, this makes a huge difference in how germs can live and thrive within the office environment. The less bacteria on commonly used products, the less germs there are to go around, limiting illness and absenteeism and increasing productivity.

 

With a comprehensive cleaning regime, hand hygiene compliance program and the help of antimicrobial technology, the open office space may have a shot at being a healthy, hygienic and productive working environment after all.

 

For more information on the Deb’s skincare range and dispensers manufactured with BioCote’s antimicrobial technology, click here 

 

Download the BioCote Study

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21528171

[2] https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/toolkits/pages/managingemployeeattendance.aspx

[3] http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs211/en/

 

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