Ah, the weekend! The trials and tribulations of the last five days are gone and the joys of two days of freedom are here.  No boss, no annoying co-workers and best of all, no work! We can sit back, relax, spend time shopping, reading a book, being with family and put all thoughts of 9 to 5 to rest.

But as we take a break, there are thousands if not millions of microscopic workers working through the weekend accomplishing tasks of growing, multiplying and spreading.

Office Germs.

While our briefing notes, boxes and balance sheets sit idly at our desks, workbenches and meeting tables, germs are working fervently in places that we all take for granted…the fridge, the coffee maker, sinks and the keyboard.  Many of these germs are harmless and won’t make a dent in our daily activities but as one group of office workers recently found out, these germs can sometimes cause serious health problems.

On Monday, MSNBC reported that 7 people were sent to hospital after trying to clean their office refrigerator.  This story is perhaps on the extreme side of the office germ-ination process but still shows just how nasty things can get if they are not kept in check.  And while this one made the news, I am sure that there are hundreds if not thousands of stories about the office turning into a microbiological oasis.

The answer to this problem is simple enough: clean the office! But how many of us have the time to initiate such an effort, let alone maintain the schedule necessary to keep everything clean and presentable?  Also, with many offices having cleaning staff, there is a belief that the job is in the job description of someone else.  While this may be true for bathrooms and floors, personal spaces are off limits to these people and must be cared for by the people that own or use them.

Here’s an idea.  When you head back into work on Monday, check  the following items:

  • Coffee Cups
  • Coffee Maker
  • Fridge Interior
  • Microwave Oven
  • Plant Beds
  • Underside of the Keyboard

If you notice any discoloration, see fuzzy growth, smell odd aromas or feel a slimy or greasy buildup on any of these items, you know that it’s time to clean.  For the majority of these items, good old water and detergent will work but I’d suggest using a good disinfectant just to be safe.  I’d also suggest taking a photo of the items prior to and after cleaning as a way of showing your workmates and others just how different life can be with a little cleaning around the office.

The office shouldn’t be treated like a home but in many ways, it is exactly that.  We spend so much time in our workplaces and share so much with our colleagues that we do create a community.  And while millions of dollars are spent every year trying to develop the best team building exercises and experiments, I’d like to say that there’s nothing like a good office cleanup to get people together and share how they really feel.  Just be sure that the common enemies are the germs and not your co-workers.