Now that the holiday season is over and vacations are starting to wrap up, it’s time to get back into the office. Instead of suntanning on a remote beach or cross-country skiing to a family cabin in the woods, you’ll be back at your desk and keyboard and visiting the breakroom. Going back to work is hard enough as it is without being sick. Let’s take a look at some preventative measures we can take to help keep our workplace clean and your sick days stocked up.


For starters, focus on things in your personal area that you use and touch every day. Yes, you wash your hands regularly and are very clean in general, but even with the best personal hygiene, your computer’s mouse and keyboard often get used for months (if not YEARS!) without ever being cleaned. If you have them available in your office, take some bleach wipes to your desk and unplug your mouse and keyboard. Then, gently wipe each contact surface of your keyboard and mouse with the bleach wipes or you can spray a vinegar and water or isopropyl alcohol solution on a rag or towel and carefully scrub. Make sure to not get any moisture around the USB contact areas of your mouse or keyboard because that may cause an electrical short when plugging it back into your computer. Wipe dry with a paper towel or clean cloth before plugging them back in. Now, do the same for your actual desk and your office chair if possible.


The other high risk areas in your office that you should take some time to clean in the New Year are:

  • Office or desk phone headset and keypad
  • Office thermostat
  • Light switches and dimmers
  • Breakroom refrigerator handles (and the interior too if you have time!)
  • All door knobs
  • Conference room or shared computer stations
  • Remote control devices for computers, projectors, and televisions
  • Coffee maker’s control surfaces and filter basket
  • Conference room phone headsets and keypads
  • Breakroom drawer handles and sink handles
  • Any shared laptop computers or tablets or company cell phones
  • Breakroom chairs and eating surfaces


It may seem like a lot to keep in mind, but just remember that you don’t have to clean all of these places at once. They are just some of the often overlooked communal surfaces that have the highest potential of spreading unwanted germs and diseases. Make a note in your calendar to clean your mouse and keyboard and desk phone at least once a month. Then, throughout the year, you can put a monthly or quarterly reminder to clean other surfaces like light switches and conference room equipment.


If everybody does their part, you can help stop the spread of common communicable diseases that can lower productivity and be harmful to team morale. If you make specific tasks for your office team, then you will have a better chance of getting everything done regularly. You know what they say, “when everyone is in charge of something, then no one is in charge.”


Good luck adjusting back to life at work in the New Year and may we use this knowledge to stay a little more healthy in 2019.