How often do you touch door handles, keyboards, and phones around your office? When were these surfaces last cleaned?
Germs and viruses can survive for anywhere between a few hours to a few weeks. The average person touches about 300 surfaces every 30 minutes, making it easy for bacteria to circulate quickly around an office.
For a study by Kimberly-Clark Professional, researchers swabbed almost 5,000 surfaces in a range of offices – including law firms, call centres, insurance companies, manufacturing facilities, and more. They analyzed those swabs using a device that measures adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule found in yeast, vegetable, animal, bacteria, and mold cells. The higher the ATP levels, the more likely it is that germs and bacteria will be present.
So what are the dirtiest touch points in the average office?
1.Faucets and Handles in Your Office’s Break Room
The communal kitchen was home to five of the top six dirtiest touch points around the office, with ATP counts above 300:
75% of sink faucets
48% of handles on microwave doors
26% of handles on refrigerators
23% of buttons for water fountains
21% of buttons on vending machines
Surfaces with ATP levels beyond 300 are at high risk for spreading illnesses, while those with counts above 100 could use a thorough wipe down. Although some surfaces in communal kitchens – including countertops and sinks – are regularly wiped down and disinfected, other touch points are more easily and often overlooked.
2.Keyboards and Computers
Most employees spend most of their time at their computers, making keyboards a magnet for grime. Of all the keyboards researchers swabbed 27% had ATP counts above 300, while 51% of computer mice had ATP counts above 100.
You can keep your keyboard clean day-to-day by using a special brush or compressed air duster to remove hidden dirt. To keep computer mice and other hardware clean, wipe them with disinfecting cloths regularly.
3. Desk Phones
One of the dirtiest tools office workers use every day is the seemingly harmless desk phone. 51% of all desk phones swabbed had ATP counts above 100, making them prime candidates for regular disinfecting.
Other everyday touch points that might be harbouring harmful bacteria include:
It’s important to regularly clean common touch points before germs have the chance to spread.
Tips for Keeping Your Office Clean
Day to day, you can keep germs at bay around high-traffic touch points by: