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Keeping Good Hygiene at Work

Keeping Good Hygiene at Work

While a seemingly odd topic, we have been inundated in recent days, particularly with the recent pandemic concerning the coronavirus, on keeping good hygiene at work.  The below is the ultimate guide for both employers and employees on how to keep good hygiene and cleanliness in the workplace.

When it comes to keeping good hygiene at work, there are a plethora of reasons on why you would want to take it so seriously.  For starters, proper and appropriate hygiene not only helps to keep you from getting sick, but also helps to keep your colleagues and coworkers from getting sick.  In addition, having good hygiene at work helps to create a more pleasant work environment and atmosphere.

While keeping good hygiene at work may seem pretty simple, there are a few key pieces that most people miss or don’t address.  For starters, when it comes to washing your hands, the current recommendation is to do so for nearly 20-seconds.  Secondly, you should avoid shaking hands or unnecessarily touching surfaces if you feel slightly ill or unwell.  Doing so will help to reduce the spread of germs and bacteria.

Disclaimer

Below, we are going to take a look at some products to help with keeping good hygiene at work which can be purchased on Amazon.  Please note, the product links below include links from an Amazon Associates account.  This means that we at The Corporate Con/noisseur receive a small commission on any purchases made from those links.  This is at no additional cost to you and helps to keep our site free, honest, and without bias or prejudice.

Why is Keeping Good Hygiene at Work so Important?

Although we can try our best, inevitably, individuals throughout the year will get sick.  Whether it’s with the flu or a mild cold, these illnesses are common and prevalent.  However, in an effort to stem the spread of harmful germs and bacteria, it is important to help to contribute to a healthier workplace.

Without a doubt, a healthy, sick-free workplace is a happy and productive one.  Healthy workplaces lead to less sick leave and help to increase overall productivity.  In addition, keeping good hygiene at work can help to reduce overall costs on businesses.  That’s why it’s so important for small and large businesses to introduce a written hygiene policy.

A hygiene policy is a simple document which covers the basics of hygiene that all employees should adhere to.  This policy should be introduced across all companies, no matter how small or large.  A written policy will not only help to ensure that employees take correct steps to maintain healthy habits and hygiene but will also ensure that your workplace is one that is as clean and disinfected as possible.

Simple Ways to Keep Good Hygiene at Work

In addition to introducing a hygiene policy at work, you should meet with your employees collectively and discuss the importance of keeping healthy hygiene policies.  This can be an informal meeting and one that can be discussed collectively. 

Besides providing a hygiene and sanitation policy, it is important to take specific steps to ensure a clean and healthy workplace.  Firstly, you should ensure that your employees are provided with clean bathrooms and kitchen spaces.  These two common areas are known to harbor harmful bacteria and germs and should be kept clean and disinfected throughout the day.

When it comes to keeping a clean bathroom area, it is important to ensure that your employees are provided with the tools they need.  This includes anti-bacterial hand soap and paper towels to effectively dry off hands.  Within the kitchen area, not only should an adequate amount of paper towels be provided, but it is important to ensure that disinfectant products are within reach and dish soap is provided near the kitchen sink.

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In addition to keeping the common areas, bathrooms, and kitchen clean and disinfected, you should also pay attention to the personal needs of employees.  This includes providing disinfectant wipes which can be used on desktop and cubicle surfaces and tissue paper, so your employees have adequate resources to take care of personal hygiene.

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What is Good Hygiene at Work?

While a difficult conversation, it is a necessary one and one that needs to be had.  Maintaining and keeping good hygiene at work is a collective effort and one that all employees should strive to.  An easy way to emphasize the importance of maintaining good hygiene at work is by introducing a hygiene policy.

The hygiene policy should not only discuss the need of washing hands and maintaining safe distance if feeling unwell but should also discuss the nuances surrounding personal hygiene.  This includes the use of deodorant, utilizing perfume or cologne, and taking frequent showers.  In addition, maintaining good facial hair upkeep and utilizing shampoo and conditioner products often can be discussed.

Keeping Good Hygiene at Work

How to Improve Hygiene in the Workplace

Improving hygiene in the workplace doesn’t have to be difficult.  However, policies must be introduced and encouraged.  In addition, as an employer, you must “walk-the-walk” in your policies.  This means that while introducing a hygiene policy is a good first step, you should also invest in adequate cleaning and disinfecting products for your employees.

Other than providing those products, an employer should also consider outsourcing daily or weekly cleaning services.  These services will come to your workplace after-hours and conduct a thorough deep clean of all surfaces, including cubicles, common areas, furniture, and flooring.

Basic Do’s and Don’ts of Personal Hygiene

Overall, maintaining an adequate level of personal hygiene isn’t difficult and can be accomplished following a few simple steps and habits.  While performing these hygiene tips are recommended, it should be done on a daily basis to ensure adequate cleanliness and levels of freshness.

Similarly, maintaining a level of cleanliness within a workplace should be a team effort.  With that said, all employees should ensure that they are regularly cleaning and wiping down areas they utilize.  This not only includes their cubicle and work areas but also common areas after use.

In a further effort to ensure cleanliness, employees should be encouraged to use hand sanitizer frequently and often.  This should be in addition to regular hand washing, again at a minimum of 20-seconds.  Lastly, employees should be encouraged to wash and thoroughly clean their dishes and reusable cups which they use.

When it comes to things that should not be done, it is often a basic understanding of hygiene.  For starters, all employees should begin by adhering to the hygiene policy in place.  Secondly, all employees should cover their cough or sneeze, ideally with a tissue or napkin.  Lastly, employees should not utilize any common areas or bathroom facilities without washing their hands and cleaning the area before use.

Keeping Good Hygiene at Work

Can You Fire an Employee Due to Poor Hygiene?

Within the United States, most employees are considered at an at-will employment.  This means that an employer is allowed to terminate an employee at any time for nearly any reasons, except for illegal ones.  Similarly, an employee is allowed to leave a job at any reason with no legal ramifications.

With that said, an employee can have their employment terminated due to poor hygiene.  However, the employee should be provided with sufficient warnings and ample time to correct the issue.  This will help to ensure that the employee is not terminated unfairly or without just cause.

How to Speak to Employees About Personal Hygiene

Speaking to employees about keeping good hygiene at work can be done either personally or as a team.  The first step, however, should be done by implementing a hygiene policy.  This policy will help to establish a process and expectation level that all employees should adhere to.

Secondly, employees should be regularly reminded about the personal hygiene policy.  This is the best option, particularly if there is a single employee who needs this reminder as speaking on the issue with the whole team helps to save them from embarrassment.

Lastly, if there is an offending employee, you may need to speak to them individually.  Though the conversation may be difficult and awkward, it is best to discuss directly and unfiltered as a means to reach a solution and resolve the issue.

Best Hygiene Rules for Bathroom Areas

  • Do not leave used paper towels on the floor or countertops
  • Ensure adequate levels of paper towels are within reach
  • Ensure adequate levels of hand soap are within reach
  • Provide sufficient amount of personal toilet paper
  • Provide a means to open and close the door to the bathroom without the need to touch the door handle
  • Regularly provide cleaning services within the bathroom areas

Best Hygiene Rules for Kitchen Areas

  • Clean up any messes immediately
  • Do not leave any food items unattended or opened
  • Regularly empty fridge and freezer contents
  • Label your food to avoid any confusion
  • Do not leave any items in the sink
  • Regularly clean any trash can bins

Basic Hygiene Policies for Employees

  • All employees should report to work in good health, dressed in a clean pressed attire
  • Employees are mandated to wash hands frequently and thoroughly, for a minimum of 20-seconds with hand soap
  • Fingernails and facial hair should be trimmed and kept neat
  • Do not wear obnoxious or overly dramatic jewelry
  • Treat, bandage, and disinfect all wounds and sores immediately. When hands are bandaged, single-use gloves must be worn when interacting with customers, food products, or assembly line.
  • Smoking, including the use of e-cigarettes and JUUL products are strictly prohibited on premises.
  • Food and drink are acceptable within common kitchen and dining areas only.
  • Hats and baseball caps are prohibited within the building
  • All injuries sustained on premises must be reported to your direct manager.

Employee Hand Washing Policy

Proper hand washing is the single best defense against harmful germs and bacteria.  All employees, visitors, and guests must abide by the hand washing guidelines by scrubbing and lathering the hands and forearms with hand soap for a minimum of 20-seconds, rinsing off under warm running water.  Upon completion, hands must be thoroughly dried with the provided paper towels.

Hands should be washed, but are not limited to, the following circumstances:

  • Before starting work
  • Before placing or removing gloves
  • After using the bathroom facilities
  • After coughing, sneezing, or using a napkin
  • After touching hair, face, or other part of the body
  • Before and after eating or drinking
  • After smoking, including the use of e-cigarettes
  • After handling dirty equipment or trash
  • After handling cash or credit cards between customers

Keeping Good Hygiene at Work

Sample Hygiene and Sanitation Policy for Employees

Intent

The intent of this document is to set forth a uniform and standard code of conduct for all employees, visitors, and guests on the premises.  The [employer] requires that all employees, visitors, and guests conduct themselves with professionalism and respect with regards to character, clothing, personal hygiene, and appearance.  These standards are in accordance with national and state guidelines and will help to keep our workplace clean and pleasant to all who enter.

Scope

This policy applies to all employees, visitors, and guests without any exception.  To ensure consistency and equality, the [employer] will attempt to disclose dress and personal hygiene requirement declarations throughout the office.  A copy of this hygiene and sanitation policy will also be provided via email for further reference.

Guidelines

All employees, visitors, and guests are mandated to adhere to these guidelines and policies.  In an effort to provide the single best reputation for our company, we are establishing this uniform personal hygiene policy which will help to differentiate us from our competitors and make every experience a pleasant one.

The following personal hygiene policy is applicable to all employees, their guests, and any visitors.

  • Maintain personal cleanliness by bathing regularly
  • Ensure proper oral hygiene by brushing teeth regularly and utilizing flossing products
  • Use deodorant and antiperspirant to minimize body odor
  • No heavily scented perfume, cologne, or lotions should be used
  • Clean and trim facial hair and nails are mandatory
  • Clothing worn within the office setting for all employees, visitors, and guests must be business professional
    • All clothing must be neatly pressed and ironed, with no visible wrinkles
    • Clothing should be fitted appropriately, and should neither be too loose or too tight
    • Socks, tights, and pantyhose must match the color of the pants or shoes
    • Open toe shoes, including sandals, are prohibited
    • Long hair must be tied back and away from the face, particularly when working with heavy machinery or working in a food and beverage department
    • Clothing should not interfere with day-to-day operations
    • Jewelry should be limited and should not create a safety hazard
  • Tattoos that can be perceived as offensive or hostile must be covered and should not be visible throughout the workday
  • Commonly accepted body piercings are allowed, but are at the discretion of the employee’s manager

The Following Items Are Prohibited During the Workday

  • Sweats or gym pants
  • Sleeveless shirts
  • Pants that expose the underwear
  • Shorts and/or leggings
  • Low-cut tops
  • Spaghetti strap tops
  • Any clothing that is mesh, sheer, or see-through
  • Any form of clothing that is generally considered controversial or offensive

Conclusion

When it comes to keeping good hygiene at work, it is definitely a team effort.  While all employees should be engaged and willing to work towards a healthier workplace, the onus is on the employer to provide direct and written documentation which can be followed.  Similarly, it is important to not only talk-the-talk but to also walk-the-walk.  Employers should provide sufficient disinfectant wipes, hand and dish soap, and paper and facial towels for all employees.

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