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The Hidden Reality of Office Hygiene

New research carried out by the University of Arizona has revealed an unwelcome truth about the levels of hygiene in and around our office work spaces when the right hygiene measures aren’t put in place to fight dangerous bacteria and germs.

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The research has revealed that on average an office desk carries (brace yourself) 400 times more germs than found on a typical toilet seat! So where are all these germs hiding, and what can we do about it?

How clean is your desk?

It comes as no surprise when sickness spreads around an office space in Winter time when germs are at their worst. The University of Arizona research suggests that it’s not just Winter when the office environment is culpable of spreading germs – it’s all year round. With so many germs being found on the average desk, office workers could be permanently at risk of sickness whilst going about their day to day work.

Office desks present various opportunities for bacteria to gather beyond desks themselves. Phones, computers, keyboards, drawers and personal items left on the desk are all contributing factors and ideal breeding grounds.

Of this list of bacteria ‘hot zones’ it’s potentially the office phone that poses the greatest threat to your good health. By their very nature, phones come within close-proximity of vulnerable entry points like our mouth and ears. Office phones alone were found to carry 10 times more bacteria than a typical toilet sear when analysed in the study.

Who’s to blame?

When it comes to figuring out who is to blame for all these germs, the answer is ‘we are’! Humans are the most common source of bacteria in the workplace. The research also highlighted that men are bigger contributors than women, with between 3 and 4 times more bacteria being found on the desk of males versus those of females.

Whilst there are lots of possible reasons for the difference between the levels of bacteria contributed by men and women, it’s not all our fault. Geography also plays a role. The natural environment in any given location can significantly impact the microbial mix that is present.

Combating the spread of germs

You’ve probably already made the decision to stop chewing the lid on your Biro and start taking your own office mug into work by now. If not, consider this – not only did the study find that microorganisms could survive on pen lids, it uncovered a shocking 90% of communal office mugs are coated in a host of harmful bacteria with 20% of them containing faecal matter.

Personal hygiene: With so much of the bacteria in our office workplaces being contributed by ourselves and our co-workers, high levels of personal hygiene are the obvious starting point. The cleaner we are ourselves, the cleaner our environments become.

Clean and Tidy: Simply cleaning the items found on and around our desks makes a big impact in the war on germs. Using appropriate cleaning products to regularly clean our phones, laptops, desks etc. is highly recommended. Keeping our desks tidy can also help given that germs are found to survive on stationary.

Infection Control: Professional hygiene services such as bio-fogging and infection control systems are the most effective ways to sterilise full office spaces quickly and affordably. Systems such as the Airsteril available from TWC Group maintain clean air and surfaces 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by removing odours and controlling infection.

Maintaining high levels of hygiene in the workplace offers a range of benefits including improved healthcare and wellbeing, enhanced public image, higher levels of staff morale, minimal staff absenteeism and long-term cost savings.

If you’re interested in any of the services detailed in this article or would like to book a free site survey and quote for your own office, give a member of the TWC Group a call on 0330 058 2636.