The office tea round can really bring colleagues together in a spirit of camaraderie, united by the shared need for caffeine. However, is a bit of team spirit worth it for a one in five chance of drinking somebody else's shit?
A study of coffee cups by The University of Arizona, USA, found that 20 per cent tested positive for coliform bacteria (which is found in shit), with dirty dishcloths playing a big part in the spread.
Doctor Offers Hygiene Tips As One In Five Office Mugs Found To Contain Poo. Credit: PA
The study reads: "Coliform bacteria were present on 20 per cent of the coffee cups before and 100 per cent of the coffee cups after wiping with a dish cloth or sponge. No E. coli was found on cups prior to wiping. However, 20 per cent of coffee cups were positive for E. coli after wiping. The presence of insanitary conditions in office kitchen and/or coffee preparation areas is of concern."
Yes that definitely is a concern; you'd think the worst that could happen with the tea round is Janet forgetting how many sugars you have again, whereas in reality you're lucky not to get two spoons of crap and E. coli.
In light of these findings, it's worth taking some tips from 'The Hygiene Doctor', Dr Lisa Ackerley, who has some sage advice regarding how best to stop shit from spreading in the office - in a literal sense that is, you're on your own on the rumour front.
Speaking to Totaljobs, Dr Ackerley said when it comes to drinking vessels, sharing really isn't caring.
She said: "Whatever you do, don't leave mugs or water bottles out overnight. Water is not sterile, and bacteria will build up overnight. Ideally, bring your own mug and bottle to work and don't share them with your colleagues."
Crap and E. coli anyone? Credit: PA
The rise of hot desking is also a cause for concern for Dr Ackerley (and more so for hot deskers), for while it may have been found to boost intra-departmental cohesion and shit like that, it ain't so good once again in the literal shit department. It's particularly dangerous for those who eat at their desk - and share a desk with a pen-chewer/nail-biter/phone-licker.
Dr Ackerley said: "Use a hand gel or antibacterial wipes before eating anything at your desk. The best way to avoid contamination though is to take a break and eat elsewhere."
So, like you needed an excuse to get out of the office, there it is - 'Boss, I'm going out for lunch because I don't want E. coli'."
They can't argue with that.
Featured Image Credit: PA