messy desk

The Horrors of Communal Bathrooms and Why Men are Dirtier than Women at Work

Look at yourself. Now look at your keyboard. Really look in there. Can you see a bunch of crumbs and lint stuck in your keyboard? What about the stuff you cannot see?

Offices dirtier than restaurants – but no one is doing anything about it!

Restaurants with surfaces that contain more than 700 bacteria per square inch are considered unsanitary, but the typical office worker’s hands come in contact with 10 million bacteria a day, according to Barrientos.

That’s a very scary thought!

Cleaning your desk with anti-bacterial wipes

Whenever I eat lunch at my desk, I make sure to use an anti-bacterial wipe. But I may be in the minority! You’re probably not thinking about these statistics as you take your afternoon snack; about 20 percent of workers never clean their desk before eating, while 75 percent of workers wipe down “only occasionally” according to Clorox.

I have colleagues who insist on eating very smelly food at their desks. It really irks me but I can’t complain because I do the very same thing!

And we’re sharing everything – even our germs!

Here’s some info from a study from PLOS One: In the industrialized world, millions of people spend their entire working day, eight or more hours, inside office buildings sometimes without going outdoors the entire day. Employees in crowded buildings often share workstations, computers, chairs, restrooms and many other common areas that have been found to harbor a wide spectrum of microorganisms. Studies of office building air have detected as many as 106 bacteria per cubic metre.

Men vs. women and the HORRORS of communal bathrooms

I used to live on the Gold Coast of Australia, and I used to do a fair amount of nightclubbing in my youth. There was one club that introduced unisex bathrooms, and they were not the only venue to do this. The idea was that the toilet cublices were grouped into male and female, but there was a shared communal ‘basin and mirror’ area which was for both men and women.

The idea was that it was more social, more fun! I think it lasted about a year before women partitioned the club to go back to the old system. In short – guys: You Stink. And we don’t want to share our bathrooms with you.

Men’s offices have more bacteria? Really?

Yup. There was an article profiled in the National Geographic Daily News that told us that “men’s spaces were found to harbor more microbe species than women’s,” which does not surprise me one bit.

There were two potential reasons put forward: One is hygiene—men “are commonly perceived to have a more slovenly nature,” and past research has shown that men wash their hands and brush their teeth less often than women, according to the study. More likely, however, is that men are simply bigger, because men’s hands and mouths are larger than those of women, there’s more surface area for bacteria to grow.

Bigger mouths? OK guys… I’ll let you have that one.

For now.

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