Being Gross at Work

By: Marie Donlon

In news likely to spoil your lunch, particularly if you eat lunch at your desk: the typical office desk is home to 400 times more germs than a standard toilet seat, according to research from the University of Arizona.

Other study findings likely to gross you out:

  • Desks occupied by men have three to four times the number of bacteria than female occupied desks. Researchers suggest the reasons for this disparity might be that men have larger desks and thus more surface area for occupancy and, potentially, lower personal grooming standards.

  • The microbes in two offices in two different cities might be similar in some cases even more so than, for example, a kitchen and an office in the same building

  • Overwhelmingly, bacteria lurk in locations such as keyboards and phones.

  • Another related study revealed that 90 percent of reusable coffee mugs in office kitchens are layered in germs, and 20 percent of those mugs contain fecal matter.

Want more details likely to turn your stomach? Go to the journal PLOS One.