As anyone who’s ever tipped their keyboard upside down will know, there’s a lot of dirt and grime lurking underneath those keys.
But, while the sight of crumbs, hairs, and whatever else that was trapped in there might have shocked you, it’s likely that a lot of the equipment and surfaces in your workplace are also loaded with invisible office germs.
With such a large influx of people, as well as bad habits such as people eating at their desks and failing to wash their hands after a trip to the restroom, it’s hardly a mystery how germs spread in the office.
But, one way to avoid spreading them further is to know which surfaces to avoid touching. Keep reading to find out the germiest places at work.
Illnesses like colds and flu are some of the main causes of absence from work. But the irony is that you probably caught the virus from one of your work colleagues. Flu spreads fast in offices where sick people struggle into work to meet deadlines, HVAC systems recycle old air, and surfaces may not be as clean as they seem.
And, while it may seem obvious, the restrooms are one of the grimiest places in your office block and a hotspot for contracting illnesses. Although professional office cleaners will likely clean the restrooms at least once per day, germs like E. coli bacteria are often present. This is difficult to avoid since every flush of the toilet releases ‘toilet plume’ containing fecal matter and various bacteria into the restroom environment.
Another problem is that even washing your hands isn’t a solution as the faucet handles can be covered in invisible germs too. With this in mind, unless your office has state-of-the-art sensor faucets, make sure to turn the water on and off with your elbow or cover your hand with a paper towel.
2. Elevator Buttons
Considering how many people touch the buttons on photocopiers and fax machines, it’s worth cleaning office equipment like this with a quick wipe down before and after every use.
But what about how many people use the up and down buttons to call the elevator every day? Or the ‘lobby’ button inside the elevator? These buttons have a lot more germs than other places in your office building, which is why it’s important that professional office cleaners sanitize surfaces in communal areas more often.
As for avoiding spreading these germs, you could use your elbow to select the floor you need. Or, why not kill two birds with one stone and take the stairs for some light exercise and less chance of encountering germs? Just make sure not to touch the stair rails!
3. Coffee Equipment
We hate to break it to you, but the office coffee maker, coffeepot, and even the cups you drink your coffee from are all rife with germs.
Bacteria love to set up home in the damp, dark corners found inside a coffee maker while the buttons and handles are full of bacteria from constant touching. The same goes for your coffeepot. Even if someone cleans it daily, most people will overlook the handle when cleaning, even though it’s the most germ-filled part of the coffeepot.
As for coffee cups, while they might seem safe to share after being cleaned and dried, they can be a breeding ground for germs. This is often because the cleaning supplies in your communal lunch area are less than pristine, with E. coli and other bacteria lurking in kitchen sponges and brushes within a few weeks.
One of the issues here is that professional commercial cleaning services are rarely responsible for cleaning office kitchen supplies like coffee makers. And, even if they are, you can’t expect them to wash all your dirty coffee cups. Establishing a cleaning rotation can help avoid arguments about whose turn it is to clean the equipment and cups, although you’ll all need to clean to the same high standards if you want a germ-free cup of coffee.
4. Microwave and Refrigerator Handles
We’re back in the communal kitchen for more revelations about the germs hiding inside two of the most-used appliances – the microwave and the refrigerator.
Even in a small company, the office microwave is often pinging and popping away. Inside, you can expect to find a combination of food particles as well as the kind of warm and moist environment that bacteria love to thrive in. The handle is also one of the dirtiest spots in an office, with many people overlooking this germ-infested surface when cleaning the kitchen.
The same goes for the refrigerator. Many office workers leave old sandwiches, half-empty milk bottles, and take-out containers in there long past their expiration date. This creates a prime spot for bacteria, while spillages and leaky food packets only add to the problem.
The refrigerator handle is another prime source of germs and bacteria, with many workers touching this surface several times a day. As such, whoever is responsible for cleaning the office kitchen should treat these areas as food prep zones, taking the time to clean and sanitize them at least once a week.
As you might expect, your desk, keyboard, and mouse are all covered with germs. But these grimy surfaces are practically pristine in comparison to your office phone, which has an average of 25,000 germs per square inch. To give you some sense of scale, that’s 400 times dirtier than the average toilet seat!
To avoid spreading these germs onto your face and hands, make sure to sanitize your office phone several times a day. And if other people use the phone too, always wipe it down before you use it.
Office Germs: The Dirtiest Places at Work
If this information about office germs hasn’t put you off clocking in for work on Monday, we don’t know what will!
In all seriousness, workplaces can be real breeding grounds for bacteria. But you can help to make your office a cleaner place by encouraging good office hygiene among your staff and by hiring the best professional office cleaners around.
If you’re worried about the cleanliness of your office, don’t waste time searching ‘clean my business’ online. Instead, contact us at Hubbard’s Maid Service for more information or a free quote!