A new study has revealed that the dirtiest part of a person’s desk space is the handle of their chair, followed by their mouse and then their phone.
The study by Initial Washroom Solutions Ireland, carried out anonymously among 51 Irish office workers, which measured biological contamination at 25 work stations, also found high levels of contamination on keyboards and the surface of the desk itself.
In a separate survey that measured the habits of workers and found 88 per cent of workers eat their lunch at their desk, 41 per cent of respondents believed their keyboard would be the most contaminated item on their desk. A further 40 per cent believed their phone was the dirtiest item on their desk yet 90 per cent would use someone else’s phone without cleaning it first. Only 16 per cent of respondents thought their mouse would be the most unsanitary item, with 96 per cent saying they would not hesitate before using someone else’s mouse. No respondent suspected that their chair handles would be the most unhygienic part of their desk space.
Of those surveyed 73 per cent said they had suffered from a cold in the last three months and 84 per cent said they took at least one sick day per year. While 55 per cent of respondents had access to antibacterial wipes, no one surveyed admitted to cleaning their desks daily. There was no significant difference recorded in the desk cleaning habits of men and women.
Dr Colm Moore, technical manager, Initial Washroom Solutions Ireland, commented: “The results of this survey are unsurprising; the levels of contamination, while not dangerous, could be attributed to the spread of colds and stomach bugs around the office. We recommend cleaning your desk daily with disinfectant wipes to stop the spread of germs, especially if you eat your lunch at your desk.”