Many people find it funny the extremes a germaphobe will go to, in order to disinfect, sanitize, and sterilize various surfaces, objects, and items around their home and when out in public. Even though some people can become a bit obsessive about germs, it is not necessarily a bad thing in the workplace.
There are numerous sources of bacteria, viruses, and infections that can be easily transmitted in shared working environments. Several studies have shown around 80 percent of illnesses, and the bacteria and viruses that cause them, are passed by human contact either directly or indirectly with other people.
One area in work environments that most people automatically assume is crawling with germs is in the restroom. Restrooms can be scary places, especially when they are used by multiple people throughout the day. Let’s face it; not everyone washes their hands after using the restroom, so they carry whatever they picked up in the bathroom and transfer it to other areas around the workplace.
Studies have been conducted where numerous surfaces and locations have been tested for germs, including:
- Toilet Seats
- Fax and Copy Machines
- Elevator Buttons
- Water Dispensers
Most people are surprised to learn workplace restrooms and toilet seats are not the leading causes for germs. The areas with the most germ contamination are other areas around the workplace, most notably our cubicles and office spaces.
If you stop and think about this, it makes perfect sense. Restrooms and break areas are typically cleaned with antibacterial and sanitizing products on a daily basis. Our cubicles and desks, on the other hand, simply get dusted off, and the floor or carpeting is mopped or vacuumed. Some of the leading germ infested areas in work environments are:
- Buttons on Office Equipment (Copiers, Printers, and Fax Machines)
- Elevator Buttons
The only time most of the above items are cleaned is when we clean them ourselves. It is worth mentioning, even though it is a bit gross, in one study elevator buttons were found to contain fecal matter, an infectious skin bacteria, e. coli, and even candida, which is yeast from the private areas of the human body. Unfortunately, even professional cleaning services tend to overlook cleaning elevator buttons.
Arming Yourself Against Germs
There are several things you can do to make your workplace environment less germ-friendly. Make sure you keep a supply of antibacterial wipes on hand at your desk. Get into the habit of wiping down your telephone, keyboard, mouse, and all surfaces in your cubicle or work space at the start of your day, after breaks, after lunch, and again before you leave for the day. You may also want to carry wipes with you when you use office equipment or ride the elevator, so you can wipe down the buttons.
Ask your employer to invest in facility products like antibacterial soap and hand sanitizer, available from Prudential Overall Supply. For more information about our facility products and services to help control germs in the workplace, contact us today at (800) 767-5536.