Your office may look clean with the naked eye but it can be a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. People shake hands, answer the company phone, and open doors at the workplace. These day-to-day activities can facilitate the transmission of diseases, and ultimately, put the company’s employees and productivity at risk.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 90% of communicable diseases are transmitted through our hands. That’s why a workplace should be equipped with an adequate number of hand sanitizers. Alcohol-based sanitizers that are at least 70% solution can kill 99.99% of pathogens, which are disease-causing microbes that stick to our hands.
Where should hand sanitizers be placed?
You need to be strategic in choosing the locations for your hand sanitizers. The two keywords here are visibility and accessibility. There should be enough sanitizer bottles that can be seen by the employees. They should also be located in spots that they can easily be reached by the people.
- Employee desks - We tend to touch our faces about 16 times per hour. That’s how easily people transfer pathogens from surfaces to their faces. Therefore, you need to place sanitizers near each employee’s desk or one per cubicle if possible. If you can’t provide one bottle per employee, a ratio of 3-5 employees per dispenser is fine. Put them in conspicuous locations that are ideally within 5-10 steps from their seats.
- Counters and transaction desks – Documents and money may seem clean to the naked eye but these items are potential carriers of salmonella and E. coli. Money, in particular, is very mobile and can easily transfer across dozens of people. Hand sanitizers should be on desks where you receive visitors, documents, and packages. Similarly, they should be found on cafeteria counters where people transact with both money and food.
- Entrances and exits – There should be hand sanitizers positioned near your doors. WHO studies reveal that viruses can stay around 4 hours or more on surfaces like doorknobs, and 60% of workers who touched a doorknob with a virus are likely to pick it up. Doors are also likely to be near light switches, visitor logbooks, and biometric scanners for workers. These are frequently-touched surfaces, so it will benefit everyone if a sanitizer dispenser is nearby.
- Boardrooms – Meeting rooms are places where people converge. It’s also where you meet with visitors and clients. As such, it can be classified as a high-traffic area where surfaces can be frequently touched.
If possible, go for hand sanitizer bottles with automatic features.
If budget allows, choosing automatic sanitizer dispensers can go a long way. People may have the tendency to avoid sanitizer bottles if they have to touch them. The bottles are usually operated by applying pressure on a pump with the palm of your hands, and this may deter some employees from using them.
There are affordable battery-powered dispensers that use motion sensors to automatically spray alcohol or sanitizer. There are also innovative designs in which the dispenser works by operating a connected foot pedal.