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Office Germs: Safe for Work?

Safe for Work?

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The Editors of Office Product Reviews at Best Choice Reviews decided to research the topic of:


Keeping clean and healthy in the office may be harder than you think.

  • 1 in 3 office workers have witnessed co-workers leaving restrooms without washing their hands.
  • 53% of Americans don’t wash their hands after exchanging money.
  • The average person touches 300 surfaces every 30 minutes, exposing themselves to 840,000 germs.

Diligent washing, wiping and sanitizing can help office professionals reduce their rates of cold and flu by as much as 80%.

  • 72% of Americans typically go to work when they are sick.
  • 55% of workers say they feel guilty when they call in sick.
  • 78% of workers say they wash their hands often.
  • 15% of workers avoid shaking hands with people to avoid germs.
  • 3% skip meetings where sick people are in attendance.

Just how dirty is my office?

Researchers swabbed about 5,000 surfaces in office buildings, including law firms, insurance companies, healthcare offices, call centers and factories. The swabs were analyzed with a device that measures adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is a molecule found in all animal, vegetable, bacteria, yeast and mold cells. High ATP levels are present in food or other organic residues left on surfaces. The more ATP found on a surface, the more likely it’s flourishing with bacteria and viruses. An ATP reading of over 100 suggests a surface could use a scrub-down. Readings of 300 or higher are considered officially dirty and at high risk for spreading illness.

ATP counts of 300 or higher

  • 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

ATP counts of 100 or higher

  • 91% of break room sink faucet handles
  • 80% of microwave door handles
  • 69% of keyboards
  • 69% of refrigerator door handles
  • 53% of water fountain buttons
  • 51% of all computer mice
  • 51% of all desk phones
  • 48% of all coffee pots and dispensers
  • 43% of vending machine buttons

Office hygiene tips

  • Keep hand sanitizer at your desk and use it immediately after every meeting or conference.
  • 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 desk at least once a day.
  • Keep hand sanitizer in the break room to reinforce hand hygiene.


PR Newswire