The Shocking Facts About Your Office Kitchen

By on 20th March 2018 (updated: 8th September 2020) in Latest News

After seeing our recent infographic which revealed the hidden (and very dirty) truth about kitchens, many of our clients admitted they’ll never look at their kitchens in the same way again. And that goes for their office kitchens, especially…

The Dirty Truth About Office Kitchen Hygiene

Indeed, research by microbiologist Charles Gerba of the University of Arizona shows that nine out of ten office mugs carry dangerous germs, and in one-fifth of cases these include faecal bacteria. That’s right – bacteria that come from your co-workers’ poo. Considering 50% of office workers don’t wash their hands after using the toilet, it’s easy to see where these faecal coliform (which is their official name) come from.

Many offices include shared kitchens, and in the majority of cases, these include shared crockery. At the same time, not all workspaces have a regular cleaning service. Surfaces, crockery and even cleaning products like sponges may silently be gathering bacteria of the evil kind. Salmonella and e.Coli, two of the most common instigators of food poisoning, can get trapped inside a cleaning sponge and dirty cloths can spread nasty bugs to cups and mugs, allowing them to survive for days. An unclean office kitchen can spread rhinoviruses, which cause the common cold, like wildfire.

It’s no wonder, then, that 35% of people claim they have contracted an illness at work – if anything, we’re surprised it isn’t more.

What About my Desk?

So what about my desk, I hear you think. That’s an area we have slightly more control over.

But have you thought about the devices that we use at our desks? Our laptops and phones are devices which we carry around with us all day – sometimes even to the toilets. They can carry hundred million bacteria which live right there at our fingertips. What’s more, 20% of office workers never clean their computer mouse, making these innocent-looking devices a breeding ground for germs.

Some shocking statistics from Dettol showed that the average work desk is 400 times dirtier than a toilet seat, harbouring not only viruses and bacteria but also leftovers from lunch. Whenever you’re eating at your desk, remember that you’re adding to a hotbed for potentially harmful microorganisms.

The Importance of Personal Hygiene in the Kitchen and Beyond

According to a report from the Centre for Economic and Business Research, poor hygiene in the workspace and office kitchen is costing the UK around £13.7 billion in sick days each year. Clearly, it’s in the interest of both employers and employees to maintain personal hygiene in the kitchen and the office space.

Office Hygiene Rules

Encouraging your colleagues and employees to adhere to the following hygiene rules will promote safety and hygiene in the kitchen and beyond:

  1. Wash your hands regularly throughout the day
  2. Use anti-bacterial wipes to clean your keyboard and phone
  3. Do a weekly deep clean of the office fridge, binning food that’s going off
  4. Clean the surfaces of your office kitchen with disinfectants throughout the day – this includes handles, bins and soap dispensers
  5. Clean towels, wipes and sponges daily
  6. From a safety perspective, avoid slippery floors or mark them clearly
  7. Avoid clutter on the floor that people can fall over

The office isn’t the only health hazard you get to encounter on a daily basis. For hygiene facts about your domestic kitchen, including tips on keeping it safe, have a look at this infographic.

Rik Hellewell is the Founder & Managing Director of Ovenu and a member of the Approved Franchise Association. He established Ovenu in 1993, cleaning 4,000 ovens and proving his concept over five years before starting the franchise business. Since then he has helped over 200 franchisees achieve their dreams of running successful businesses of their own. Established for over 25 years, the Ovenu concept has proven successful across the UK, New Zealand, Australia and the USA.