Anyone who has spent time working in an office can’t be surprised to learn that adults share as many germs on a daily basis as kids do in preschool, but where are the worst places to stick your hands while you’re toiling away at the day job?
The more obvious offenders are elevator buttons, office doors, and conference room phones – basically, anything that’s frequently touched but seldom cleaned has a huge potential to carry the sort of microbes that will spread a cold around the office lickety-split. They also point out that, if you travel for work, you should wash after handling the bins where people toss their bags and shoes to go through security. They basically never get cleaned and are touched by thousands of different people every day.
A 2014 Canadian study swabbed elevator buttons at 3 different hospitals and found 61% of them contained bacteria – more than the 43% of toilets in the same facilities. The most commonly found bacteria was Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS), which is particularly dangerous around people who are already sick.
Your keyboard and mouse? You should wipe those down with disinfectant wipes every morning, just in case – and don’t even think about using those communal sponges in the break room.
The most surprising entry on their list (to me) was disposable coffee cups – a 1997 study found coliform bacteria (also known as fecal matter) on as many as 20% of tested cups and lids. If someone used one of those communal sponges to wipe down the area, then 100% of the cups tested positive for fecal matter.
So, you know…maybe it’s not such a pain to bring your own coffee cup to and from the office every day and wash it every night, huh?
Stay healthy out there, friends – cause it’s way more fun to use your sick days for “mental health” than to spend them wallowing in a pile of used Kleenex.