We all know how fast a good rumor can make its way around the office, but according to some new research, those salacious tidbits have nothing on another nuisance spreading around your office: germs.
In fact, this research shows that germs spread around the office even quicker than previously thought, going from hands onto communal surfaces within hours and from there to your desk in the span of just a couple of hours.
In fact, you can spread your germs to other people more quickly by hand than you could by sneezing directly on them
And the most contaminated place in the office? Most people say the bathroom, but it is actually the breakroom, especially the spots that everyone touches like microwaves, sink faucets and coffee pots.
These findings were part of a study that was presented recently at the American Society for Microbiology meeting in Washington, D.C. It showed that diseases spread best when people deposit germs on tables, desks, or coffee pots, and then others come along behind and pick them up:
“Every time you are touching these surfaces, you are picking up 30 to 50 percent of the organisms that are on those surfaces,” Gerba said. Then you touch your face, and the viruses can either get into the eyes nose or mouth, or get back onto your fingers. “The average adult touches their face on average once every three or four minutes,” Gerba said. For kids, it’s more on the order of every one minute.
Before you panic and run from your office, you should know that the study also found that using disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizers almost completely cut the spread of germs.
When wipes and sanitizers were used, the viruses spread to 60 percent fewer surfaces and there was a 90 percent drop in the amount of virus on hands or surfaces.
“We suggested that any time they have been out in public, that they use a hand sanitizer and that they use a disinfectant wipe on their desk once a day,” Gerba said.
The findings could also apply to schools. Several states are reporting unusually high numbers of serious infections with a respiratory virus called enterovirus D-68 or EV-D68. The authors of the study estimate that absenteeism could be reduced by 50 percent if kids would just disinfect their desks once a day.
If you would like to continue the conversation, and make sure your school or office is using the right disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizers, please reach out to an Office Essentials team member today. You can also watch a segment from the Today Show about the study below. And last, if you enjoyed reading this article, please share it with your network.