September 12, 2017 7:00:00 AM EDT  |  Culture  |  Facilities Support Services  |  WELL Building Standard

How to Stop the Spread of Germs in Your Workplace! (WELL Feature #27)

Every flu season, entire departments can be out sick with a particularly nasty virus. And we’ve all seen a cold or a cough spread from one cubicle to the next to the next and so on.

Blonde woman sneezing with hands in front of her face against virusSome companies request that employees stay home when they are contagious, but that is not always possible, especially when there are deadlines and individuals with irreplaceable skills. In light of this common phenomenon, there are several WELL Building Standards concerning germs.

WELL Feature #27 specifically discusses antimicrobial surfaces. Read on to learn more...

It is now possible for certain materials to be antimicrobial. These materials are capable of killing microorganisms on contact without leaching significant amounts of antimicrobial materials into the environment. This minimizes the use of harsh cleaning chemicals which are addressed in another WELL standard.

Stop Germs WELLAntimicrobial materials vary in their methods. Some physically destroy microbes while remaining non-toxic to humans. Others are infused with antibiotics, which kill off bacteria. Still, others are antimicrobial due to their incredibly smooth surface texture.

One interesting note is that copper, brass, and bronze are naturally antimicrobial. Numerous studies have shown that these metals destroy even the worst bacteria and viruses such as E. coli, MRSA, the flu, and staph. Designers can incorporate these materials into building spaces to take advantage of this quality.

Alternatively, this WELL standard also allows cleaning processes and equipment that use short wavelength ultraviolet light (UV-C) to destroy microbes on surfaces. The standard specifies that the UV cleaning device has an output of at least 4 mW/cm2.

We all know the dread of hearing a coworker cough or sneeze and have seen the path of destruction an illness can bring to a workplace environment. Getting a handle on germ control by using WELL Standard 27 is definitely one that everyone can get behind.

About the Author

Ray Carney

Ray Carney

Ray Carney, WELL AP is a Vice President at Markon Solutions and a champion for wellness in the workplace. Ray’s areas of expertise include workplace strategy and modification, design thinking, leadership, sustainable design, data centers, and creating secure environments. His experience includes providing cradle-to-grave project management support for the successful design and build of secure facilities. He also spearheaded the tenant fit-out of Markon's headquarters expansion to ensure that it achieved WELL certification. This was the first WELL certified project in the Commonwealth and was recognized by the City of Falls Church for its achievement. Since joining Markon in 2007, Ray has managed numerous internal program strategies, capture efforts, and client engagements. He also co-developed Markon's in-house Leadership Development Program. Prior to joining Markon, Ray consulted for prestigious consulting firms in the DC metropolitan area and Ohio. Ray's passion for wellness in the workplace has led him to speak at numerous engagements around the country including the National Facilities Management and Technology (NFMT) Conference and Expo. He also published an article on WELL Building Standards in FaciltiesNet. Ray was named one of Engineering News-Record Midatlantic's 2016 Top 20 Under 40 for contributions to the industry. He received his MBA with a concentration in Leadership and Finance from the University of Notre Dame and a bachelor’s degree in Management with a concentration in Business Technology from John Carroll University. Ray is a WELL Accredited Professional, LEED Green Associate, Six-Sigma certified Yellow Belt, certified SCRUMMaster, Sun Certified Java Programmer, and holds the Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential as well as both ITIL v3 Foundations and Quality Management certifications.