Spring is here! Tiny buds are popping up outside, heavy winter coats have been stored back in closets, and the sun is still up on your commute home. As much as we would all like to take a couple of months off from heading into the office to enjoy these wonderfully warm days, we can take some steps to make our workstations more warm weather friendly.
Over the winter, dust has accumulated all around you. Take a moment to observe…once windows and doors start sweeping fresh air throughout your workspace, all of those particles will be airborne! Most cleaning services in your office don’t touch your personal workspace, so take some time at the end of the day to do a little spring cleaning.
At my desk, I keep a Swiffer duster and some anti-bacterial wet wipes. These are perfect for cleaning your space. Now stand up (after you finish reading), and look at the top of your bookcase, panel system, lateral file, and other high standing office furniture. See that dust? Get rid of it! Dust and then wipe it down! When is the last time you wiped down your: mouse, desktop, keyboard, phone, etc.? Get rid of all of the winter germs that have been snuggled up to your winterized workstation.
If we’re taking time to notice all of those particles collecting in areas around your workstation, let’s take a step back and look at your workplace. In a study published by the journal of Ergonomics, people who work in open floor plan environments with multiple peers are more likely to take short-term sick leaves than those who work in private spaces.
Open floor plans have been a very popular trend for furniture manufacturers. Low credenzas, teaming stations, satellite touchdowns, collaborative spaces; all are perfect spaces for sharing ideas and sickness. Don’t let this deter you, however! Office manufacturers are now designing to combat these adverse effects.
In a seminar given by Steelcase called Wellbeing @ Work, it has been observed that “an ecosystem of spaces and settings that offer users choice and control over where and how they work” is a must in today’s workplace. Giving employees a chance to get away from their traditional setting and move to a more private area allows individuals to control their exposure to others. In addition to creating divisions of space, optional anti-bacterial treated surfaces, like the Desk Pad and Ergo Edge from Steelcase’s Soto II Additions line, are also being devolved to aid in minimizing the spreading of germs.
So you see, solutions are coming! In the meantime…clean your workstation, save your sick-days, and enjoy the nice weather in a healthy state.