Working From Home? So Are the Germs
Working from home provides many benefits, but a break from germs may not be one of them. According to a research study out today, home office surfaces are cluttered with millions of bacteria that could potentially cause illness.
In the new home version of Germs in the Workplace, researchers led by the University of Arizona™s Dr. Charles Gerba compared bacteria levels on common office surfaces in both home-office and traditional-office environments. Results are in and the desktops in the home-office harbor more bacteria than traditional-office desktops. In fact, more than four times as many bacteria were found on home desktops compared to traditional desktops. Many surfaces in traditional-offices still contain high levels of bacteria, but the study shows home-offices are surprising offenders.
Although telecommuting offers many benefits like increased productivity and morale, and, of course, the luxury of working in your pajamas, home-office workers need to practice the same healthy habits as the rest of the workforce, Gerba said.
For the study, which was funded by The Clorox Company (NYSE:CLX), samples were collected in winter 2007 from private-offices and home-offices in San Francisco, New York and Tucson. More than 400 surfaces were tested and samples were analyzed at the University of Arizona laboratories.
Surprisingly high germ levels in home offices may be due to the fact that people think their homes are already clean, or that the germs in their home offices are just their own and therefore harmless, Gerba said. But, regardless of whose they are, there™s a chance the germs can make you sick.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau™s 2006 American Community Survey, nearly 5.5 million Americans worked at home,
accounting for approximately 4% of the total workforce. Thanks to recent studies that found home-bound workers to be highly productive, telecommuting rates are ever-increasing, as many employers hire new employees to telecommute right from the start.
Gerba™s previous Germs in the Workplace studies have looked at the presence of bacteria and viruses in traditional office settings; germiest jobs and whether men™s offices have more germs then women™s offices. Other research shows that some viruses like influenza, can survive on surfaces for up to three days (Bean B. et al. 1982).
Gerba recommends frequent hand-washing and using disinfecting wipes daily on hard, nonporous surfaces in your cubicle or office to kill germs. Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes kill 99.9 percent of the germs commonly found on office surfaces, including those that can cause colds and flu.
About Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes
CLOROX Disinfecting Wipes make it easy to clean and disinfect in one easy step. Safe for use on most hard, non-porous surfaces, CLOROX Disinfecting Wipes are pre-moistened and ready to use “ follow directions for disinfecting and just wipe, toss and be done. CLOROX Disinfecting Wipes kill 99.9 percent of the germs (Influenza A2 viruses) that may cause flu symptoms, as well as the bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella choleraesuis) commonly found in kitchens and bathrooms. To help decrease the spread of surface germs throughout a typical workday, use disinfecting wipes (enough for surfaces to remain visibly wet for four minutes) daily on desks, computer mice and keyboards, doorknobs, and telephones where germ levels are at their highest.
Clorox is a registered trademark of The Clorox Company.
Always read and follow precautions and directions before use.