Your keyboard is dirtier than a toilet seat

| March 5, 2017

It may appear clean and tidy, but just how germ-free is your office? Studies have discovered as many as 25,000 germs per square inch on an office telephone, and, if that isn’t startling enough, consider this: The typical office desk is 400 times dirtier than the average toilet seat, reports EHS Today.

Office germs have a noticeable affect on the workplace: In fact, 60 percent of illnesses leading to work absences are picked up from office equipment tainted with E coli, staph and bacteria. Considering that 65 percent of workers share phones and computers, germs may pose a significant employee health risk. Yet there are plenty of ways to safeguard your office space and prevent picking up any nasty bugs. But first,let’s get the dirty details out of the way. What’s living on your office equipment?:

office germs

Keyboards host 3,295 microbes per square inch. From Jakob Montrasio.

Keyboards: 3,295 microbes per square inch

Office mouse: 1,676 microbes per square inch

Office phone: 25,127 microbes per square inch

Compare that to just 47 microbes found on a toilet seat! (Speaking of the bathroom, many of the germs originate there. As EHS Today reports, washing your hands after using the restroom can reduce contamination by 10 percent. Yet 32 percent of those polled confessed to not washing their hands after using the toilet, and 30 percent said they only used water to clean their hands. A whopping 26 percent have fecal bacteria on their hands! Do you feel like scrubbing now?)

Thankfully, there are ways to keep yourself healthy, and your office clean. Here are a few of our recommendations:

1. Wash your hands, properly and often. The CDC recommends a five-step process: wet, lather, scrub, rinse, dry. Learn more here, and share the CDC’s resources with your employees and coworkers. Washing your hands properly can reduce the spread of diarrhea and respiratory illnesses.

2. Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, and do so into your elbow — not your hands. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, suggests Medline, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

3. Use a hand sanitizer, if unable to wash your hands. Make sure it’s at least 60 percent alcohol (which means it’s more effective) and, if given the opportunity, opt to wash with soap and water. Washing your hands is more effective in reducing microbes than sanitizer, reports the CDC.

4. Keep your desk clean. As EHS Today notes, your desk is 100 times “less hygienic” than the typical kitchen table. Since 60 percent of employees eat at their desk, and one in five never clean their space before eating, it’s likely that your desktop could use a thorough cleaning. Wipe your desk down each day with a disinfectant, recommends Women’s Health.

5. Be wary of shared items. Use your own cup or utensils (or disposable versions) rather than what’s on offer in the company kitchen or break room to limit the spread of germs.

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Category: Office courtesy

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