According to research, 60 percent of absenteeism is due to illness from cross-contamination within the workplace. In fact, apparently the average office workstation contains 400 times more bacteria than a toilet.
As a result, Durable UK has launched the UK’s first ever Computer Cleaning Week, starting on 18 September, and is rolling out an impressive awareness programme aimed at both the consumer and trade.
Scientific studies have revealed that office equipment, such as PC keyboards and telephones, can harbour a microbe-infested breeding ground for toxic bacteria such as eColi and Salmonella.
A research project conducted by the University of Arizona revealed that a telephone is contaminated with up to 25,127 germs per square inch, a keyboard is layered with 3,295 bugs and a PC mouse plays host to 1,676.
Another study found dirty or unwashed hands are a major factor towards infection as nine out of ten workers surveyed said they ate lunch at their desks.
Stewart Anderson, vice president of marketing at Durable UK, said: "We carried out extensive market research over a three-month period at the end of last year which included focus groups and online studies. The very clear message that came out was people’s level of knowledge was very low when it came to the perils of dirty office equipment.
"When the consumer was made aware of the nasties that lurked in and around office equipment, they were deeply troubled — there was a real need for information and that’s when we decided to launch the Computer Cleaning Week.
"One of the interesting points that came out of our focus group research was that people actually wanted to be empowered with the responsibility to clean their own equipment as well as the office cleaner and they wanted access to the appropriate cleaning products.
"It was interesting that 90 percent of the respondents said they had cleaners in the office daily, but 65 percent of them wanted to have the responsibility for cleaning their own equipment."
Stewart said another microbe hot spot in the office are printer buttons which are touched by many different people a day and can often host hundreds and thousands of bacteria. But he hoped Durable UK’s Computer Cleaning Week would boost public awareness of the dangers and help office workers "Go Bug Free".
"The trade’s reaction has been absolutely fantastic, dealers have been working with us to promote this campaign and increase awareness," he added.
A dedicated website, www.computercleaningweek.com, has been launched to support the marketing drive and provides promotional material, such as animated web banners, posters and direct mail campaigns.