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Life at Work, Organizational Culture

How to Avoid Those Hidden Germs at Work

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Robby Berman

Robby Berman is a reporter, father, and musician who creates and discovers good stuff for the Internet world.

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iStock_000008083655_Small-2Listen to your mom — she was right. Wash your hands. Often.

A new study by the University of Arizona tracked the ways in which germs spread throughout an office, and the results were impressive. If you’re rooting for the germs, that is.

The study placed a harmless virus in a few key places, like the office doorknob and on top of some tabletops. A little while later, researchers tested cellphones, keyboard, and desks to see what had happened. In under four hours, the office had become absolutely infested, and the virus had been picked up by 40% to 60% of the people working there.

How It Spread

Most of us realize these days that germs travel from surface to hand, and then into our mouths, eyes, and so on. Sneezes and coughs really aren’t directly responsible, though they do propel viral droplets onto surfaces others may touch.

The first contaminated place in the study? The break room.

The first contaminated object? The handle of the coffee pot.

It makes sense, really. This is where people go first when they arrive at work. Ironically, for the first two hours of the day, the most germ-free area is the restroom.


So how can you keep a disease-free organizational culture? Wash your hands frequently. Hand sanitizer also helps. Keep those fingers free of germs and you’ll be much more likely make it home in good health.

 

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Robby Berman

Robby Berman is a reporter, father, and musician who creates and discovers good stuff for the Internet world.

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