Is Your Office Space An ‘Unregulated Restaurant?’

Your desk area may be the equivalent of an unregulated restaurant.

Many federal employees are in cubicles or sharing an office with another person.

Americans are increasingly overweight or obese. They are often overweight because they eat too much.

Combine these two facts and you may have a problem even if you aren’t the one noshing down the potato chip snack.

If the person occupying office space close to you happens to be one of those people who considers eating at the desk to be one of life’s greatest pleasures, you may have a regular feeling of being assaulted by sounds of food going down and smells of various fast foods flooding your air space with aromas that don’t fill your nostrils with joy and happiness.

This won’t make you feel any better but you may be moved to try and put a stop to some of the activity or at least to be moved into a new area.

An Unregulated Restaurant

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, the desktop area surrounding you has as much bacteria per square inch as a toilet seat. The computer keyboard has 67 times as much bacteria as a toilet seat and the mouse has 34 times as much bacteria. One big difference between your desk and the toilet seat: someone probably cleans the toilet on a regular basis.

If you happen to be one of those people who likes to stop by Krispy Kreme on the way to the office and then eat your doughnut while dropping the sugar into your keyboard or on to those old reports that are still sitting there, you may be creating a condition that is dangerous to your health.

Or, if your cubicle mate happens to leave old pizza around for a couple of days before getting around to finishing it off, you are essentially working in an unregulated restaurant with some of the health hazards the restaurant inspections were designed to correct or eliminate.

What about the table down the hall–the one where everyone generously brings in the halloween candy left over from last fall or where the cookies that weren’t eaten last week show up for everyone in the office to increase their sugar consumption? How many people have handled those pretty little cookies sitting on that plastic plate before you pop a few into your mouth while waiting for lunch time to arrive?

When lunchtime rolls around today, you may want to consider eating out. And, when getting the coffee from the communal pot, consider using throw away paper cups. And don’t eat doughnuts over the keyboard–it isn’t good for the computer or for your health.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47