Working from Home? So Are the Germs!

(ARA) – Working from home may provide many benefits, but a break from germs may not be one of them. Why? A recent workplace study revealed that desktops in home offices harbor more bacteria than desktops in traditional offices.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2006 American Community Survey, nearly 5.5 million Americans worked at home, accounting for approximately 4 percent of the total workforce. Thanks to recent studies that find home-bound workers to be highly productive, telecommuting rates are ever-increasing, as many employers hire new employees to telecommute right from the start.

In the workplace study conducted by University of Arizona and sponsored by The Clorox Company, researchers sought to compare bacteria levels on common office surfaces in home-office and traditional-office environments. Four times as many bacteria were found on home desktops compared to traditional-office desktops.

“Although telecommuting offers many benefits like increased productivity and morale, workers at home need to practice the same healthy habits as the rest of the workforce,” says Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist from the University of Arizona.

Samples were collected for the study from traditional-offices and home-offices in San Francisco, New York and Tucson. More than 400 surfaces were tested and samples were analyzed at the University of Arizona laboratories. The study shows home-offices are surprising offenders, though many surfaces in traditional-offices still contain high levels of bacteria.

“Surprisingly high germ levels in home offices may be due to the fact that people think their homes are already clean, or that the germs in their home offices are just their own and therefore harmless,” Gerba says. “But, regardless of whose they are, there’s a chance the germs can make you sick.”

Previous studies have investigated bacterial and viral levels in traditional office environments. In 2002, Dr. Gerba found that not only does the average office desk harbor 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat, but that cold and flu viruses were also found on office surfaces.

Today’s workforce is spending more time at their desks — the average work week steadies at about 47 hours according to Harris Interactive Poll — and even more people coming into work despite being sick, illness-causing germs can run rampant. This means longer hours spent working, and even eating, at your potentially germ-infected work area.

So how can employees help reduce the spread of illness-causing bacteria and viruses?

One good way to help reduce the spread of surface germs is to regularly clean your personal workspace with an easy-to-use disinfecting wipe like Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. Using just one disinfecting wipe as directed can dramatically reduce the bacteria and viruses that may make you sick.

Safe for use on most hard, non-porous surfaces, Clorox Disinfecting Wipes are pre-moistened and ready to use — just wipe, toss and you’re done. When used as directed, they also kill 99.9 percent of germs including viruses that may cause colds and flu. For more information, visit www.Clorox.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent