Here are 10 key places where germs hide in your Pittsburgh office and a few prevention tips you can take to curtail their spread, the most important of which would be to call Enviro-Master of Pittsburgh for the very best in facility hygiene services!
According to data acquired from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends approximately 1,789 hours per year at their workplace, which translates for most of us into more time than anywhere else.
And while that statistic is upsetting, it’s even more of a pain in places too polite to mention to consider that our offices are teeming with much more than just pressure, gossip and stress.
It is also home to a myriad of pathogens, many of which are dangerous to our health.
The average office manager may wonder how it got that way since no one seems to smell badly or wear dirty clothes.
The answer lies below that which is visible; namely, poor hygiene, which for whatever reason, very few co-workers practice.
A survey conducted by The Cleaning Services Group revealed that 30 percent of workers admitted to only using water to wash their hands, which is partly responsible for the fact that 26 percent of people have fecal bacteria on their hands at any given time.
Almost every item in the average work space from the computer mouse to the communal coffee pot in the break room, is a breeding ground for pathogens.
Be pro-active, and put an end to the domino effect of workplace illness by knowing exactly where the germs in your office are hiding out.
And if your business is located anywhere throughout Greater Pittsburgh or Western Pennsylvania, learn from the experts at Enviro-Master which items you should focus on when attempting to clean up work areas.
10 Work Places Where Germs Love To Hide
1. The Beloved Coffee Cup
That favorite mug that lives on most office desks is a magnet for many pathogens.
This was proven in a 1996 study conducted by Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, in which researchers discovered that 20% of coffee cups in office settings were found to contain coliform bacteria.
Also, and even worse, was the the fact that even after being wiped down with either a dish-cloth or a sponge, every single cup still tested positive for coliform bacteria.
2. The Office Desk
The desk is one of the most germ-infested places in an entire office because many people spend more time there than on their living room couches.
Desks and cubicles are hot spots for germs to fester and multiply, and according to Gerba, the average desk is home to up to 10 million bacteria.
3. The Phone
There are many people with jobs that require a great deal of time on the phone every work day.
Gerba’s study indicated that the average office phone retained 25,127 germs per square inch, making it one of the filthiest items on an office desk.
Without proper cleaning by the experts at Enviro-Master, Gerba warns that “a phone can sustain millions of bacteria that could potentially cause illness.”
4. The Desk Chair
That beloved chair that workers live in for most of any given work day is just as germ-infested as an office phone, if not more so.
In a 2012 study published in the journal, PLOS One, researchers swabbed offices all over the country and found that chairs were generally more contaminated with germs than the phones, computer mice, computer keyboards, and desktops tested.
This included both the seat and arms of the chair, which the experts at Enviro-Master warn must be wiped down along with every other part at least once a week.
5. The Computer Keyboard
Gerba’s research also ascertained that the average keyboard contained 3,295 germs per square inch.
While the need to maintain amity and a sense of community are vital to a happy office setting, keyboards should never be shared.
An Australian 2009 study conducted at The Swinburne University of Technology swabbed keyboards around the university and concluded that shared keyboards had a significantly greater bacterial presence.than those that were not.
6. Computer Mouse
Albeit not as dirty as the keyboard, the computer mouse is a haven for pathogens. Gerba’s study revealed that the typical mouse retained as many as 1.676 germs per square inch.
7. The Elevator Button
In a 2014 study published in the journal, Open Medicine, researchers swabbed 120 elevator buttons in three hospitals and found that 61 percent indicated significant microbiological growth.
The diverse strains discovered included: coliform bacteria, and Staphylococcus and Streptococcus, which are known to cause staph infections and strep throat, respectively.
Gloves may well be considered part of future mandatory office attire when workers operate the photo copier machine since a recent study performed by career service website, Bloom, swabbed common surfaces in various workplaces and had surprising results.
Researchers found that the average start button on a photocopier had more than 1.2 million colony-forming units of bacteria per square inch.
9. The Water Cooler Button
The seemingly innocuous company water cooler where everyday workers refill their water bottles and briefly chat with coworkers about company news and office gossip is literally covered in germs.
In a recent Kimberly-Clark study, 23 percent of water fountain buttons, which translates into 1 out of every 4, contained high levels of dangerous toxins.
One office desk item that often gets overlooked during cleaning are company headphones.
In a study published in the Online Journal of Health and Allied Sciences, researchers swabbed 50 sets of headphones and discovered bacteria on approximately 62 percent of them.
They concluded that “frequent and constant use of earphones increased bacterial growth in the ear.”
Key Tips To Prevent Germs In The Office Place
The following advice offers by the professional at Enviro-Master can help prevent the domino effect of spreading office germs.
Some may seem obvious, but careful thought reveals their importance and basic common sense.
Stay Home If You Are Ill
Staying home from work while sick not only helps in preventing more employee sickness, it also aids in alleviating personal symptoms and accelerating the rate of recovery.
An office manager who must be around others should keep his or her distance and avoid close contact with employees.
This includes not sharing anything that can spread pathogens including pens, phones or snacks.
Never Cover Mouth Or Nose Hands
All employees should avoid covering their mouths or noses with their hands when they sneeze or cough, and should always, whether ill or not, cough into a tissue or an inner arm.
This is because hands cause germs to spread via everything that is touched during the work day.
All Employees Should Keep Hand Sanitizer At Their Desks
Encourage all workers to keep hand sanitizer at their desks and advise them to use some of it both before and after touching shared office appliances and supplies. (For example, refrigerator or micro-wave handles in a break room.)
Teach Employees How To Properly Wash Hands
Office managers should apologize to their staff if teaching them how to do this seems patronizing on its face.
Truth be told, there is an art to it that everyone should learn.
Just momentarily running hands under water with a few drops of soap really doesn’t cut the mustard.
Learning how to properly wash hands is a simple way to avoid spreading germs on a daily basis.
Use Disinfecting Wipes
These should be on every desk in every office.
Many employees eat lunch at their desks and they should be admonished to always wipe down the area before and afterwards.
Wipes are also very effective in sanitizing shared workspaces such as the office kitchen or break room.
Pittsburgh Commercial Hygiene Cleaning Services
Founded in 1983 and coupled with the ambient-air-care masters at Air-Scent in 2014, this merger with Enviro-Master Services marks a synthesis of skills, products, and experience that is unique to the modern marketplace.
Enviro-Master’s mantra across the years is and always has been: Building a healthier world, one restroom at a time.
When it comes to restroom cleaning, we focus on going that extra mile, the importance of which cannot be overestimated.
Our strategies and solutions are augmented by the sale of low cost soaps, paper and cleaning products that often offset the price of cleaning services.
Our top priority is and always has been to create a healthy and happy workplace ambiance for a myriad of diverse industries including: hospitality; schools and colleges; health care facilities; restaurant and food-related services; shopping and apartment complexes and many others.
Our extensive array of hygiene products and services geared towards public restrooms, both large or small, include: deep fixture cleaning, tile and grout deep cleaning; fruit fly and drain control; paper products; soaps and sanitizers; air fresheners and our comprehensive Sani-Services program.
Under the aegis of Enviro-Master, every business owner can expect a certified health and safety technician to visit and conduct a deep cleaning of the restroom, which involves removing persistent uric scale and other soils, which provide a food source for bacteria and cause serious malodors.
Services include a deep cleaning and the sanitizing of fixtures by coating them with a powerful germicidal barrier that lasts for a week and protects all bathroom users.
Our experts at Enviro Master are well aware that effective bathroom cleaning really begins after the janitorial staff leaves the building.
Porcelain surfaces, such as soap-applicators and sinks, may appear clean, but they are havens for harmful bacteria and germs.
Door-knobs, stalls and almost every tactile restroom surface are also vulnerable to bacterial invasion.
This situation is constantly compounded by the fact that every time someone flushes a toilet, millions of particles containing pathogens are released into the air, and they can spread up to twenty feet!
Office managers, take heed. Call Enviro-Master today. We’re here to help!
Final thought on office germs: The only time I clean my desk is when I am looking for candy. ~Pinterest
Photo Credits: Pixabay