Coronavirus: Workplaces with 'hot desks' are hotbeds for germs, experts warn

Shared spaces are becoming the new norm in the corporate world, but experts are warning that "hot desks" can be a hotbed for germs.

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Experts are warning that ‘hot desks’ in the workplace can be a hotbed for germs. Source: 1 NEWS

Associate Professor Rachel Morrison, an expert in work psychology at AUT's business school, says those sharing desks are more likely to take sick days.

"The work environments that could be especially problematic are flexible offices - this is hot desking and activity-based work - where workers are required or encouraged to move throughout the day," Ms Morrison said.

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With the coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak continuing to roll on, many businesses are preparing for slowing productivity and low staff numbers.

However, employers are being reminded to try and stop people getting sick in the first place.

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Ms Morrison says it’s a good idea for them to provide hand sanitisers and wipes for desks.

"It's really important that organisations communicate clearly with workers who are sharing desks, particularly that they need to wash their hands frequently and to also disinfect their workstations before and after using them."

1 NEWS conducted an experiment at a desk in our Auckland newsroom.

Using a light-sensitive cream, we were able to see how easily germs can travel in a shared workspace.

After a few simple tasks - including sending off emails, taking a phone call, and handing a file to someone - the "germs" spread around very easily.

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Microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles says the best thing to do is properly clean your desk before and after use.

"Some of these surfaces are really difficult to clean, actually - especially keyboards," she said.

"If you're using a surface that has been used by others, you [must] go and wash your hands."