Dr Lucinda McWhor has allayed fears around hot desking as employees across the UK return to the office environment.
Tautvydas Karitonas, a research and development manager at hygiene and cleaning firm Inivos, recently questioned the practice of hot desking amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
But Dr McWhor believes there is no cause for concern as long as work stations are cleaned thoroughly.
The BHSF clinician said: “Most of the research on hot desking suggests that employees don’t like doing it at the best of times, let alone in the middle of a pandemic so I can appreciate the apprehension.
“The cleaning itself isn’t really an issue, as long as it’s done properly.
“If your company operates a hot desking system attention to detail is something I would strongly advise.
“You have to make sure things like keyboards, phones, arm rests and chair adjusters are cleaned as thoroughly as desks because these are the items your hands will be in contact with more so than the desk.
“It’s more about the entire work station rather than just the desk.”
Initially introduced as a cost-cutting measure, hot desking has become commonplace in offices worldwide over the last two decades, allowing businesses to operate in smaller spaces.
As companies continue to deal with the financial implications of the coronavirus, hot desking could be seen as the ideal way to welcome staff back into a building gradually.
There are obvious concerns around hygiene with Covid-19 cases on the rise in various parts of the country, but Dr Whor is more concerned about social distancing and ventilation than hot desking.
She said: “Employers will have to ensure their employees are safe and are working at a clean, disinfected work station.
“Most work places won’t have cleaning staff in during the day, but they will have hand gel and sanitisers on the desk and expect employees to wipe the desk before they start work and again when they finish, just for added safety – although I think most employees would be happy to do that anyway.
“A bigger thing for me would be maintaining social distancing, particularly in places such as communal kitchens.
“Air flow is another thing that needs to be considered, making sure windows are open for adequate ventilation.
“As long as work stations are cleaned thoroughly and people pay attention to their own hygiene – and they’re not symptomatic when they go to work – then hot desking is a relatively safe practice.”