Did You Know These 7 Things At Your Office Are Especially Germy?

Offices are filled with people who breathe, cough and touch the same objects in super tight spaces. But what areas around your office typically harbor the most bacteria? Could your desk be a cesspool of diseases and germs? What kind of pesky pathogens are circulating through the office? There are many questions, and fortunately, we’ve got an answer to each and every one of them. It is said that office desks contain about 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. That alone is enough to get you to call in sick, right? But work kitchens and microwaves are no better. Did you ever notice how you usually get a cold as soon as someone near you sneezes? Before you bath yourself in sanitizer (we definitely do not recommend this at all!) check out these tips for avoiding the top germ traps.

The Air

This one seems like it’s pretty unavoidable right? In air-conditioned spaces, respiratory droplets spread when people talk, sneeze or cough, and they get recirculated quickly and easily. But what are you supposed to do? Cover your mouth with a surgical mask? Yup. We didn’t think so! The best and only way to ensure illness doesn’t spread around is for unwell people to stay home. If you’re feeling under the weather, then have a chat with your boss and call in sick. But we get it! Sometimes this isn’t an option! If you have to be around your co-workers in the office, then give them their space and make sure you wash your hands regularly to prevent yourself from picking up any more germs.

Keyboards

We don’t mean to be “Captain Obvious,” but your hands are touching a lot of things during the day. That means that they are picking up all sorts of bacteria and germs and transferring them from one thing to the next. But the one object you’ll probably touch more than anything else is your keyboard. The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health sampled 25 keyboards and found that 96 percent were contaminated with microorganisms like E. coli, which can cause food poisoning. But the problem is that you can’t really avoid germs. Do your best to keep up the handwashing and make sure to wipe your keyboard with disinfectant wipes at least once a week.

Doorknobs

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This is one of the places that we are all constantly touching before heading back to our keyboards. To avoid this, there are a few different tactics to try. You could kick the door down, sure, but that’ll certainly get you fired. Instead, you can nudge the door open with your shoulder. You could even try opening the bathroom door with the paper towel you just dried your hands with, but that would be a hassle and let’s face it, it wouldn’t make you all that popular with your coworkers. In reality, you can’t avoid doorknobs, but handwashing and sanitizer can definitely help keep germs and bacteria at bay.

The Refrigerator Handle

You open the fridge door. You grab your apple (with the same hand). Then you eat the apple (with the same hand). By the time you’re done with it, you might lick your fingers, or touch your lips (with the same hand!) See where we’re going with this? You’re basically eating whatever germs were on the fridge handle by not washing your hands in between grabbing the doorknob and the apple. Gross right? Is that enough of a reminder to wash your hands and your apples before you eat them?

Kitchen Sponges

The Takeout

This one applies to both home and work. Those brightly little colored sponges that are designed to help clean up messes are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Damp? Check. Little holes for bacteria to live in? Check. Leftover food and reside? Double check! People who study microorganisms aren’t a fan of sponges for a reason. If you have to use a sponge at work to wash a few items, make sure to throw it away after a few weeks and replace it with a new one.

Literally, Anything Else

Okay, slight overstatement, but anything that a variety of people are touching all the time can harbor all sorts of microorganisms. Faucets, conference room tables, doors, printers, laptops, coffee makers… it’s a long list. Wiping down common areas with disinfectant wipes can seem like overkill on a daily basis, but it’s totally worth doing if a coworker has been at work while infected. And, do we need to say it again? Wash. Your. Hands.