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How Clean is Your Work Space? [Infographic]

Posted by Confessions of the Professions in Confessions

David Smith


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If you are sitting at your desk reading this, you may want to brace yourself. Did you know that the average workplace desk can be 400 times dirtier than the average toilet seat? Eight in ten people in the UK work in offices, and very few are aware of how dirty their work space can be. The typical office keyboard has around 16 million microbes living on it, and only 3% of offices sufficiently clean their equipment.

If you're eyeing up any unclean office equipment, you'll be surprised to find that your office phone is the biggest culprit with 25,127 microbes per square inch. Keyboards have around 3,295 microbes per square inch while your computer mouse has 1676 microbes per square inch. Oddly, the area we often think of toilet seats as being covered in germs, however they typically only have 49 microbes per square inch!

One of the largest factors in creating an unhygienic workplace is when workers eat at their desks. Did you know your desk is 100 times less hygienic than the average kitchen table? Yet almost two out of three (60%) employees say that they eat at their desk, causing crumbs to cultivate bacteria. We often think that a sneeze is the worst way to spread infection, but 80% of infections spread via contact with contaminated surfaces NOT to coughing and sneezing!

What does unclean office equipment really mean to a company's bottom line? There are high costs to calling in, and 131 million days were lost due to sickness absences in the UK in 2013. Sick days typically cost the UK economy £29bn a year, with workers losing on average of 9.1 days per year to sickness.

How Clean is Your Work Space? [Infographic]

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How Clean Is Your Work Space?

If you're sitting at your desk reading this, brace yourself. The average workplace desk can be 400 times dirtier than the average toilet! Have you ever stopped to think how clean your workplace really is?


8 in ten people in the United Kingdom work in offices

Workplace equipment can be 400 times dirtier than the average toilet seat

There are 16 million microbes on the typical office keyboard

Only 3% of offices sufficiently clean their equipment


Office telephones
25,127 microbes
per square inch

3,295 microbes
per square inch

Computer Mice
1676 microbes
per square inch


Toilet Seats
49 microbes per square inch



The typical office worker's hands come in contact with 10 million bacteria per day

Cleaning hands after using the toilet can reduce contamination by 10%

A shocking 32% admit to not washing their hands after using the loo

30% said they only used water to wash their hands

26% of us have fecal bacteria on our hands

FACT: One Person Carrying A Virus Will Infect 50% Of All Equipment And Employees In Their Vicinity In Just Four Hours


Your desk is 100 times less hygienic than the average kitchen table

Almost two out of three (60%) employees say they eat at their desk

Crumbs are a common source of bacteria

1 in 5 office workers never clean their desk before eating


75% of workers wipe down occasionally

11% never clean their keyboards

20% never clean computer mice

46% sanitize their keyboard less than once per month

FACT: 80% Of Infection Spread Via Contact With Contaminated Surfaces NOT Coughing and Sneezing!



Microbes such as the common cold can last on computer keyboards and mice for up to 72 hours

More dangerous microbes such as MRSA can last anywhere between 6 weeks to 7 months


131 million days were lost due to sickness absences in the UK in 2013

4.4 days were lost on average for each worker

Sick days cost the economy £29bn a year

UK workers lose on average of 9.1 days per year to sickness

Public Sector workers have some of the highest level of absences 11.1 days

Technology companies had the lowest level of sickness out of any sector at 3.4 days

70% of absence from the workplace is short-term

95% of non-manual workers cited minor illnesses such as colds, cough, and flu as the reason for their absence

Dirty workplace equipment has been found to be a contributing factor to stress and anxiety related symptoms in employees

80% of people say they will go to work sick



91% of break room sink-faucet handles
80% of microwave door handles
69% of refrigerator door handles

53% of water fountain buttons
48% of coffee pots and dispensers
43% of vending machine buttons


69% of keyboards
51% of computer mice
51% of desk phones

csg The cleaning services group

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