Move over software bugs, keyboard bugs now take centre stage! This news capable of unsettling even the best of our computer whizzes is the presence of countless germs residing on the keyboard, beating even the modest toilet seat hollow.
In a maverick endeavor, a British consumer magazine "Which? Computing" deputed a microbiologist to conduct a cleanliness test of 33 keyboards in a London office. Toilet seats and door handles of toilets were also examined for germs.
In a surprising revelation of facts, four keyboards were declared germ infested and risky for human contact. One of them was declared completely unsafe and found to be five times dirtier than a cleaned toilet seat.
"Most people don't give much thought to the grime that builds up on their PC, but if you don't clean your computer, you might as well eat your lunch off the toilet," said Sarah Kinder, editor of "Which? Computing".
The study pegged the cause of filthy keyboards to having lunch at desks. The particles of food get stuck into the crevices of keyboards and act as a springboard for bacteria, resulting in millions of them. Unhygienic toilet habits leads to more of them vying for keyboard space.
To assess how people maintained keyboards, a survey sought the response of 4,000 participants. Terrible facts came out of the survey which revealed that one out of 10 never clean their keyboards, while two out of 10 preferred to let a mouse lie unclean. Almost 46% of the respondents did not clean their keyboards even once in a month.
The study underlined the importance of cleaning keyboards regularly. The best way to do it would be to disconnect it from the electrical connection, and give it a good shake upside down to ensure the remnants of food drop out. A simple brush or a mini vacuum cleaner could also be used to dust the food particles away from keyboards.
As companies seek ways to improve employee productivity and reduce the hours lost by employees falling sick, the answer might simply lie in keeping the keyboards germ free. After all, keyboards are meant to work FOR and not AGAINST us.