You wash your hands after going to the bathroom, you try to keep away from visible grime and you use hand-sanitiser before and after lunch – chances are, you think you’ve got personal hygiene covered around the office. Unfortunately, things aren’t always quite as they appear to be as it might just shock you to learn that something you touch dozens, maybe even hundreds of times every day actually has 400-times more germs per square inch than the average toilet seat!
Of course some would argue that it’s all just unnecessary scare-mongering, but it’s really not until you learn just how unsanitary various spots around the office can be that you can begin making efforts to keep yourself out of harm’s reach. It’s not as if any of these really needs to be quite a sterile as an operating theatre, but in the interest of keeping everybody safe and healthy, it’s always worth keeping tabs on basic hygiene.
Here’s a quick look at five surprisingly unsanitary spots around the office you may not be aware of:
Admit it – you and pretty much everyone else in your life has on more than one occasion taken a smartphone into the bathroom. As such, it should really come as no surprise to learn that the average smartphone has the potential to harbour more germs and nasties than a public toilet. In fact, experts warn that to share a smartphone that isn’t regularly sanitised can be every bit as bad as sneezing in another person’s face!
It’s all well and good giving your hands a thorough scrub after using the bathroom, but chances are you might be undoing most of your good work if you then have to manually turn the taps off. Studies have shown that no less than 75% of bathroom taps around the workplace harbour enough bacteria and germs to be considered genuinely hazardous to health.
Quite simply one of the worst offenders around the office is that of the standard landline telephone which sits there unassumingly and yet has the potential to play host to well over 25,000 germs per square inch. That’s right, this really is 400- times more than you’d find on the average toilet seat – the only difference being you’d be unlikely to put a toilet seat this close to your mouth at various occasions throughout the day!
Ask yourself – when was the last time you or anyone else around you make the effort to wash their hands before using the office water cooler? Chances are the answer is never, which again makes it entirely unsurprising that millions of germs take residence on the taps, sides and services in general of most water coolers around the office.
Keyboards and Mice
Last but not least, a vast amount of research pumped into office hygiene standards has over several decades shown just how genuinely hazardous computer keyboards and mice have the potential to be. These days, more workers than ever before are proactively using various sprays and wipes to keep their keyboards and mice clean and sanitary – the rather depressing news being that around 90% of office workers still do no such thing.