The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
If you are sitting at your desk reading this, you may want to brace yourself. Did you know that the average workplace desk can be 400 times dirtier than the average toilet seat? Eight in ten people in the UK work in offices, and very few are aware of how dirty their work space can be. The typical office keyboard has around 16 million microbes living on it, and only 3% of offices sufficiently clean their equipment.
If you’re eyeing up any unclean office equipment, you’ll be surprised to find that your office phone is the biggest culprit with 25,127 microbes per square inch. Keyboards have around 3,295 microbes per square inch while your computer mouse has 1676 microbes per square inch. Oddly, the area we often think of toilet seats as being covered in germs, however they typically only have 49 microbes per square inch!
One of the largest factors in creating an unhygienic workplace is when workers eat at their desks. Did you know your desk is 100 times less hygienic than the average kitchen table? Yet almost two out of three (60%) employees say that they eat at their desk, causing crumbs to cultivate bacteria. We often think that a sneeze is the worst way to spread infection, but 80% of infections spread via contact with contaminated surfaces NOT to coughing and sneezing!
What does unclean office equipment really mean to a company’s bottom line? There are high costs to calling in, and 131 million days were lost due to sickness absences in the UK in 2013. Sick days typically cost the UK economy £29bn a year, with workers losing on average of 9.1 days per year to sickness.
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How Clean Is Your Work Space?
If you’re sitting at your desk reading this, brace yourself. The average workplace desk can be 400 times dirtier than the average toilet! Have you ever stopped to think how clean your workplace really is?
THE FILTHY FACTS
8 in ten people in the United Kingdom work in offices
Workplace equipment can be 400 times dirtier than the average toilet seat
There are 16 million microbes on the typical office keyboard
Only 3% of offices sufficiently clean their equipment
HIGH GERM ZONES
per square inch
per square inch
per square inch
49 microbes per square inch
HOW DOES YOUR QWERTY BECOMES DIRTY?
The typical office worker’s hands come in contact with 10 million bacteria per day
Cleaning hands after using the toilet can reduce contamination by 10%
A shocking 32% admit to not washing their hands after using the loo
30% said they only used water to wash their hands
26% of us have fecal bacteria on our hands
FACT: One Person Carrying A Virus Will Infect 50% Of All Equipment And Employees In Their Vicinity In Just Four Hours
EATING AT YOUR DESK!
Your desk is 100 times less hygienic than the average kitchen table
Almost two out of three (60%) employees say they eat at their desk
Crumbs are a common source of bacteria
1 in 5 office workers never clean their desk before eating
DO YOU CLEAN YOUR DESK?
75% of workers wipe down occasionally
11% never clean their keyboards
20% never clean computer mice
46% sanitize their keyboard less than once per month
FACT: 80% Of Infection Spread Via Contact With Contaminated Surfaces NOT Coughing and Sneezing!
SURVIVAL RATE OF VIRAL MICROBES ON WORKPLACE EQUIPMENT
Microbes such as the common cold can last on computer keyboards and mice for up to 72 hours
- Common Cold – 50 hours
- Influenza – 60 hours
- Hepatitis A & B – 160 hours
- Norovirus – 350 hours
More dangerous microbes such as MRSA can last anywhere between 6 weeks to 7 months
- C. Difficile 110 days
- MRSA 200 days
- E. Coli 500 days
COST OF CALLING IN
131 million days were lost due to sickness absences in the UK in 2013
4.4 days were lost on average for each worker
Sick days cost the economy £29bn a year
UK workers lose on average of 9.1 days per year to sickness
Public Sector workers have some of the highest level of absences 11.1 days
Technology companies had the lowest level of sickness out of any sector at 3.4 days
70% of absence from the workplace is short-term
95% of non-manual workers cited minor illnesses such as colds, cough, and flu as the reason for their absence
Dirty workplace equipment has been found to be a contributing factor to stress and anxiety related symptoms in employees
80% of people say they will go to work sick
WHAT IS “OFFICIALLY DIRTY” IN YOUR OFFICE?
91% of break room sink-faucet handles
80% of microwave door handles
69% of refrigerator door handles
53% of water fountain buttons
48% of coffee pots and dispensers
43% of vending machine buttons
69% of keyboards
51% of computer mice
51% of desk phones
csg The cleaning services group