14 October 2016
According to research, we spend 57% of our waking time at work, but you might not be aware of all the pesky germs lingering in your office, or how to avoid them.
If you had to guess where the dirtiest place in the office is, most of you would probably say the “office toilet seat”; you would be surprised that it’s not.
A recent study swabbed over 5000 office hotspots for contamination and the results were quite surprising.
The study consisted of testing various surfaces for ATP. ATP is an energy molecule, which is found in all animal, plant, bacteria, yeast and mold. Large amounts of ATP are present in food and when it’s left on a surface it grows harmful bacteria.
Readings showed that the 5 places listed below were considered high risk for spreading diseases. Let’s dive straight into the results.
You may think that bathrooms are the worst hygiene offenders, but you will be surprised (and not a bit shocked) to discover that it’s actually office kitchen sink taps, with 75% of kitchen or break room sink faucet handles showing contaminations, coming in at the number one spot for the dirtiest place in your office.
2.Microwave door handles
Microwaves claim second place, with 48% of microwaves (specifically the outside and door handle) showing contamination. Just like sink taps, the microwave also collects ATP which means when you touch the microwave door you may also be touching and spreading germs.
Next time you reach for the microwave to heat your lunch, think twice, and always wash your hands before eating.
If you have your own work computer, you might be thinking that if you’re the only one using it, it’s hygienic and it can’t possibly be contaminated. Wrong! Generally speaking personal workspaces are clean, but considering that you are touching a number of different surfaces all the time, germs can accumulate when using your keyboard.
Remember not to eat at your desk, keep your keyboard clean and wash your hands frequently during the day.
4.Vending machine buttons
Vending machines are pretty high up on the list, coming in at fourth place. When people touch the buttons after coughing or sneezing, they are unknowingly spreading germs, especially if they have politely covered their mouths or noses.
So remember, always take precaution by sanitizing your hands before or after your mid-day snack.
5.Water fountain buttons
The study found that 38% of water coolers had high germ contamination levels, making it the fifth dirtiest surface in the workplace.
The same principle applies here as all of the above; dirty fingers pressing the button results in germs accumulating quickly.
As you can see from the study, the dirtiest places in the work environment are the most commonly touched areas and the spread of germs could create risks for you and your staff, resulting in employees getting sick.
Promote good office hygiene and reduce the spread of germs by taking the following precautions:
It is important to maintain a hygienic work environment at all times, but even more so when flu season approaches. It is not always possible to avoid sick co-workers; however, there are some good hygiene practices that can help to reduce the spread of germs and illness in the workplace.