A recent study found that 2,000 remote workers are healthier for several reasons, and one lies in the hidden germs lurking on our office desks.
According to Fasthosts, our desk is almost three times dirtier than the standard toilet seat (RLU 209), with a high average RLU score of 606, your keyboard (RLU 382) is a highly favourable environment for microorganisms, and likely to harbour almost as many germs as your kitchen bin (RLU 392), and registering an RLU score of 260, your mouse is home to more lingering germs than your door mat (RLU 173). Even your desk chair (RLU 310) isn’t exempt.
Michelle Stark, Sales and Marketing Director of web domain and hosting providers, Fasthosts said, “using Hygiena’s UltraSnap Surface ATP Test, we analysed the RLU (Relative Light Unit) results. Starting a study like this, we wondered if we’d get shocking results. And by comparing toilet seats, door mats, and kitchen bins to common desk items, we were surprised to find just how dirty desks can be. Even dirtier than the standard toilet seat, our findings have shown.”
Karim Samani, Managing Director of TechDisinfect added, “viruses, germs, and bacteria can be transmitted around the home very easily, but our workplaces are potentially a much bigger hazard. Everything from coffee cups to keyboards can harbour infection.
“It's not just high-traffic communal areas that could be harbouring a virus. Some viruses can survive on surfaces such as metals and plastics for up to a day, meaning everyday I.T. equipment - such as laptops, tablets, phones, keyboards, mice, printers, etc, - can be hotspots for transmission.
“Desks and office items can be four times dirtier than a toilet seat because we’re spending so much more time with them. People tend to eat and drink at their desks, never thinking about cleaning up afterward. Employees also don’t tend to give serious consideration to disinfecting regularly and are often reliant on the business to take charge of the cleaning.
“It’s in a company’s interest to take rigorous cleaning procedures seriously, as two-thirds of office workers are at risk of illness thanks to the nasty bugs hiding in the workspace, as tests have shown. The average desktop harbours 20,961 germs per square inch in addition to 3,295 on the keyboard and 1,676 on a mouse. The phone can also harbour a staggering 25,127 - that’s 127 more germs per square inch than on a toilet seat. Based on our experience, we give an RLU score of >1000 to an average desk, which is filthy.
“Ways to keep on top of germ control is to put stringent cleaning practices in place. Encouraging individual employees to take more control over their own desks is ideal, but it’s not the best solution when people get complacent. Professional cleaning services are a big help and provide the most efficient method as trained experts can help protect staff through rigorous cleaning of equipment - even IT equipment can be deep-cleaned. A schedule can be put in place so that desks and equipment are routinely and thoroughly cleaned to keep nasty germs at bay, reducing the risk of bugs and sickness spreading so easily.”