According to microbiologist Jason Tetro, author of The Germ Files, there have been multiple different studies on the cleanliness of offices—desks included. "Obviously keyboards, mice, and devices have been identified as being quite germy," he says. But a past study in PLoS One revealed two spots were especially germ-ridden: your chair and phone. "They're the germiest places of all," he says. Not only because of all the touching both encounter, but also because of the air circulation in the office. "Essentially, it’s a double whammy for these items."
Sure, your phone makes sense—you touch it constantly with who knows what on your hands, and you put it right up to your face. Your chair, however, is more surprising. But think about it: Even if you clean everything else in your desk area, when's the last time you spent a few seconds tackling all the bacteria on your chair? It's a desk staple that always gets forgotten about, even though you sit on it every single day. I don't even want to think about the amount of times I've touched those handles or levers without disinfecting them.
The good news is that it doesn't take a lot of effort to properly clean both your phone and your chair. "There have been quite a few papers on this, and for the most part, any disinfectant wipe will do the trick," he says. "Some will be compatible with fabrics for your chair—just be sure to look at the label." After a few swipes, you'll be the only one chilling at your desk—not you and millions of unwelcome germs.
Here's exactly how to bring wellness to your office area:
These are the nine healthy desk snacks nutritionists always keep on hand at work. Then find out the posture-bettering shoulder exercises that are no match for a desk job. Your back will thank you.
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