The shocking truth about (dirty) office desks

Average work space has tens of thousands of bacteria that can make you ill.

On the surface, your office may look perfectly clean and tidy. However, with so many different employees using your facilities, it can actually be the ideal breeding ground for bacteria.

New research has revealed that the average desk contains 400 times more germs than a toilet seat. The research also showed that more than two thirds of office workers are at risk of sickness due to dirty desks.

Failing to clean regularly with antibacterial wipes can encourage dangerous bugs to breed, such as Helicobacter pylori, Staphylococcus aureus, E-coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, to name a few.

Germs can lurk in the places you would least expect and an inefficient cleaning regime can have a dramatic and negative effect on your business. High levels of germs and bacteria can lead to an outbreak of staff sickness as illnesses like colds and flu can quickly spread. This may mean your employees will be forced to take time off work.

You might think your desk is pretty clean, but take a look at what’s lurking:

Keyboards contain 70 percent more bacteria than a toilet seat.
Office phones host around 25,000 germs per square inch.
Office desks are more than 400 times dirtier than a toilet seat.
The area on your desk where your hands rest has around 10,000 bacteria.

The average desktop harbours 20,961 germs per square inch and that’s in addition to 3,295 on the keyboard and 1,676 on a mouse and a staggering 25,127 on the phone.

Work kitchens were no better, the tap conceals 1,331 germs per square inch, and 2,483 germs per square inch were found on the handle of the kitchen kettle in a shared office compared to just 49 found on a toilet seat.

To highlight these, Printerland.co.uk have created new visualisations of bacteria at work. Their survey of 1,000 office staff, also unveiled that only a third follow suggested guidelines about cleaning up their workplace, while one in 10 never clean their desks.

People in sales and marketing were dubbed the worst for cleanliness with over a fifth admitting that they only clean their desk once a month.

Employees in the South West had the dirtiest desks with over 13 per cent admitting that they never disinfect their workstation.

Types of bacteria found in the office:

  • Heterotrophic bacteria (or total bacteria)
  • Escherichia coli (abbreviated to E. coli)
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Staphylococcus aureus

Grossed out yet? The good news is there are easy ways to fight back against the germs:

Whilst it is impossible to completely stop germs spreading in a busy office, there are steps you can take to reduce unhygienic and potentially dangerous bacteria levels. If you are an employer, it’s your duty to provide a clean working environment and uphold high standards to protect your employees from contracting illnesses.

  • Avoid using other people’s phones.
  • Don’t eat at your desk.
  • Stay home if you’re not feeling well.
  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Hire a reputable office cleaning service.

Despite these proactive steps, many employees are too busy with their work to commit to keeping their desk area hygienic. Therefore, to keep germs and bacteria at a safe level and provide a clean and pleasant working environment for your employees, you may need professional help.

Unfortunately, some cleaning companies won’t always be honest when it comes to the products they use in an attempt to cut costs. So, it’s important to choose a reputable company that is known for its quality cleaning.

Wonder Maids could be the ideal choice for your business in Leeds and Harrogate area. Call us today on 07873 990 397 or get a no-obligation quote online here to discuss your company’s cleaning needs.

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