Why You Wouldn’t Want to Eat Lunch in Your Workstation - Your Desks May Be Dirtier Than Toilet Seats

By Helen Holmes on March 12, 2018

Indeed, people have become a lot busier these days than they were decades ago. Today, most employees prefer to take their lunches to the office than to go out – most probably to save time. But health experts don’t think this is a good idea. On a latest American study, researchers revealed that people who are used to ‘desktop dining’ could have been exposing themselves to tons of bacteria.

Workstations are Dirtier than Toilet Seats

In a study conducted by the University of Arizona, it was found that an average desktop has 400 times more bacteria than an average toilet seat and 100 times more than a kitchen table! Sounds weird but it’s true. According to the study, this is probably due to the fact that people clean their kitchens and bathrooms more often than they would clean their workstations.

In a survey conducted by the researchers, it was found that 83% of Americans eat at their desks. 62% of the respondents had their lunch in their workstation while 50% and 27% eat their snack and breakfast. The bad news is – only 36% of them cleaned their work areas which include the desktop, keyboard, mouse, and other surfaces on a weekly basis. 64% do this only once a month while 45% of male respondents rarely cleaned (or have never cleaned) their desks.

While it is sometimes impossible not to eat at your workstation, there are things you can do to prevent the bacteria from getting in to your system.

1.       Take time to clean your work area.

Making it a habit to clean your workstation is a good and healthy idea. It wouldn’t take you more than ten minutes to wipe away the dust and dirt from your computer screen, keyword, and desk. Keep a pack of moistened antibacterial wipes in your desk so you can reach for it anytime you feel like cleaning your work area. It’s ideal to do this routine before and after you leave the office.

2.       Wash your hands.

It’s easy to munch on a sandwich in the middle of the paperwork but you could be exposing yourself from thousands of germs and bacteria. Hand-washing is a simple yet vital behaviour that can prevent the onset of digestive disorders like diarrhoea. If you can’t always leave your workstation, be sure to have a hand sanitizer near you.

3.       Keep your food in proper storage.

On the same survey, half of the respondents reported that they let their foods sit still for three or four hours before consuming it. But experts pointed out the importance of refrigerating the food. According to Joan Salge Blake, R.D., a spokesperson of the American Dietetic Association, pathogens grow and proliferate between 40 and 140 degrees. If the perishable food is left unrefrigerated for more than two hours, you better not eat it.

4.   Warm your food well. When bringing in microwavable packages, make sure to strictly follow the heating instructions found in the product label. Blake recommended heating leftovers for up to 165 degrees. He also advised having a thermometer in your lunch bag so you can check anytime whether the food is safe to eat or not.

5.       Eat slowly.

Most artificially produced foods are designed to taste great for up to 3 minutes only. After that, they’ll taste bland. When you eat at a slower phase, you end up tasting your food more. This makes you appreciate natural and healthier food over the processed ones. Eating slowly also improves digestion.

Do you have some more tips to share? Feel free to post your comments below.


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