The 6 Most Germiest Areas In The Office May Not Be Where You Think
Summer time colds are the absolute worst! My head is pounding and this cough has been plaguing me for over a week with no relief in sight. I wouldn’t wish this misery upon anyone – not even my annoying office cubicle neighbor (sorry, Jill). As the self-proclaimed office germaphobe, I’m wondering how did I pick up this current mega bug?! No one around me appears to be sick so where did I go wrong with my sanitation? I’m hyper aware of the obvious places where germs lurk: doorknobs, elevator buttons, and public restrooms, just to name a few. I try to stay clear of those places or at least sanitize myself (Silkwood Shower style) after exposure. But what about the lesser-known places where germs are lurking in the office? Where are they lying in wait for even the most careful of germaphobes, like me?
After stumbling over this health study about the germiest areas in the office, I started to retrace my steps. As routine dictates, I washed my hands after leaving the restroom but didn’t think twice about touching the faucet handle to turn off the water in the break room! I had no idea that the break room faucet could be the dirtiest place in the entire office! That’s right…. the break room, NOT the bathroom. Check out these study results in which researchers swabbed close to 5,000 surfaces in office buildings where about 3,000 employees worked.
These places were recognized as the 6 germiest areas in the office. The percentages represent how many of the areas swabbed were lousy with germs:
- 75% of break room sink-faucet handles
- 48% of microwave door handles
- 27% of keyboards
- 26% of refrigerator door handles
- 23% of water fountain buttons
- 21% of vending machine buttons
So, I’m stepping up my game. It’s not even flu season yet but I’d rather not catch any more of my co-workers’ coughs, sniffles or other germs. Here are a few tips (from me to you) to stay germ-free in the office.
- Keep hand sanitizer at your office desk and use it immediately after every meeting or conference. AND after touching any of the items mentioned as being recognized as the most germiest areas in the study.
- Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer when you get to work, especially after riding mass transit, such as trains or buses.
- Use disinfectant wipes to clean your office desk at least once a day, particularly if you eat there, too.
- Use disinfectant wipes to sanitize ANY area in a break room, or use paper towels to touch them.
- Keep hand sanitizer in the break room to reinforce healthy hand hygiene behaviors.