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Innovation in Learning

A A BUSINESS ISSUES

Office hygiene
Lesson code: SSXN-N3GA-HBUU UPPER-INTERMEDIATE
British English

1 Warm-up
How clean is your desk?

2 Key words
Match the terms on the left to the definitions on the right.

1. a microbe (noun) a. able to cause disease


2. pathogenic (adj.) b. a very small living thing that causes disease that can only be
seen with a microscope
3. grooming (noun) c. keeping your appearance clean and tidy
4. deposit (something) (verb) d. related to the nose
5. nasal (adj.) e. to contain (bacteria)
6. coat (something) (verb) f. to cover something with a layer of a substance
7. harbour (something) (verb) g. to leave something somewhere

3 Before you read


You are going to read an article about the microorganisms that can be found in our offices. Before you
read, decide if the statements below are `T' (True) of `F' (False). Then read the text on the next page
to confirm or correct your answers.

1. The average office desk contains many more germs than a toilet seat.
2. More bacteria is found on women's desks than on men's desks.
3. Office bacteria in different parts of the United States are very similar.
4. Most bacteria in an office comes from people.
5. Up to 50% of the mugs in office kitchens are covered in germs.
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Office hygiene lingua house
Innovation in Learning

A A A A BUSINESS ISSUES

How clean is your desk? The unwelcome


reality of office hygiene

1 If you work in an office, the chances are there are greater range of organisms - including some gut
some colleagues you would rather sit next to than bacteria.
others. But we're not just talking personality likes
or dislikes here - what can also be a factor is how 7 The microbial flora of mobile phones has also
clean they keep their desk. been under scrutiny, heightened perhaps by how
close we bring them to vulnerable entry points
2 The average office desk is said to contain 400 such as mouth and ear. Research varies on just
times more germs than a toilet seat - meaning that how many germs are on the average phone, but a
many office workers could be at risk of sickness study at the University of Arizona found that
due to dirty desks. mobile phones carry 10 times more bacteria than
3 Research by the University of Arizona found that most toilet seats.
humans are the most common source of bacteria 8 But touchscreen phones in a German university
and that, compared to women, men have three to were found to have lower levels of bacteria - and
four times the number of bacteria in, on and these were typically skin, nasal and some
around their desks, phones, computers, gastrointestinal species.
keyboards, drawers and personal items. Theories
as to why this might be include men having bigger 9 Most paperwork these days is digital, so is prone
desks, meaning an increased surface area to very different viruses and bugs. But still, many
available for depositing, as well as having on of us will regularly come into contact with different
average, lower standards of personal grooming. bits of paper - think, taking minutes in a meeting,
leaving notes on a colleagues desk, or even when
4 As microbiologists, when we look at offices we reading books or newspapers on a lunch break.
are looking at what is called the built environment.
It is thought that the built environment micro-flora 10 Paper and particularly library books are not a
(all the bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microbes common source of contamination - but, despite
detected) is far less varied than the outside world. this, a requirement for UK readers suffering from
certain diseases to refrain from taking out any
5 It is also thought that it can be strongly affected by books while ill still exists.
the geography that surrounds it. For example it
was impossible to tell apart the microbial mix 11 Health organisations advise that reusable coffee
between offices in San Francisco and New York. mugs must be cleaned properly to prevent
The office bacteria in Tucson, in Arizona are quite bacterial growth. Research has shown that up to
different due to the higher temperatures and the 90% of mugs in office kitchens are coated in
desert environment that surrounds it. What is also germs.
clear is that the microbes in two offices in
12 Office surfaces are not created to encourage
different cities are more similar than, say a kitchen
bacterial growth - so if they are kept clean they
and an office in the same building.
harbour few nasty surprises. It is also becoming
6 Humans are the biggest source of clearer that we do personalise our environment
microorganisms at the desk - most bacteria in an with our own microbes be that our keyboard,
office comes from people. The computer coffee cup or the very shoes on our feet.
keyboard and mouse are a common part of office
life for many. Unsurprisingly each key strike both 13 Adapted from theconversation.com, 03/08/2018,
deposits and picks up microorganisms. Studies of by Michael Loughlin, Senior lecturer in the School
keyboards outside of offices have found of Science and Technology, Nottingham Trent
pathogenic bacteria within hospitals, whereas University
within universities, multi-user keyboards have a
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Office hygiene lingua house
Innovation in Learning

A A A A BUSINESS ISSUES

4 Checking understanding
What do you remember? Answer the questions according to the article.

1. Why is it thought that men's desks contain more bacteria than women's? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

.......................................................................................
2. Are you more likely to find similar bacteria in two cities or in two different types of rooms? . . . . . . . . .

.......................................................................................
3. Why does the writer think that the subject of bacteria on mobile phones has been looked at closely?

.......................................................................................
4. What about keyboards in universities means that they contain a greater range of bacteria? . . . . . . . .

.......................................................................................
5. What are UK readers asked not to do if they have certain diseases?

.......................................................................................

5 Find the words


Find a word or phrase in the text which means.....

1. it is likely (informal phrase, P.1):


2. in a situation in which something dangerous or unpleasant could happen (phrase, P.2):

3. discovered using special equipment (verb - ed, P.4):


4. carefully studied and observed (collocation, P.7):
5. made stronger (verb -ed, P.7):
6. likely to be affected by something bad (adj. + preposition, P.9):
7. deliberately don't do something (collocation, P.10):

6 Talking point
Answer the questions below in pairs or small groups.

1. Are you surprised by anything in the article? If so, what?


2. Do you think that where you work is a clean environment? Why or why not?
3. Does the article make you want to change any of your office habits? Why or why not?
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Review your flashcards at least 3-5 times a week for 20 minutes to keep the material fresh in your memory.
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Office hygiene - Key lingua house
Innovation in Learning

A A A A BUSINESS ISSUES

1- Warm-up

Encourage a short discussion.

2- Key words

Give examples of each word where necessary. Students can work alone and check in pairs.

1. b 2. a 3. c 4. g 5. d 6. f 7. e

3- Before you read

Students can work in pairs and then check their answers in the text.
1. T - It's said to contain 400 times more germs than a toilet seat.
2. F - More bacteria is found on men's desks.
3. F - Bacteria in desert areas for example is different due to higher temperatures.
4. T
5. F - Up to 90% of mugs in office kitchens are coated in germs.

4- Checking understanding

Students can work in pairs and check answers with the teacher.
1. Because they may have a larger desk which means a larger surface for bacteria to grow and on
average lower standards of personal grooming.
2. Two different cities - two different rooms, such as a kitchen and an office - are likely to contain
different types of bacteria.
3. Because we bring them close to 'vulnerable entry points' - areas of our body through which
bacteria can easily get inside.
4. They are multi-user - so used by many people.
5. To refrain from taking books out of the library until they're well.

5- Find the words

1. the chances are 2. at risk


3. detected 4. under scrutiny
5. heightened 6. prone to
7. refrain from

6- Talking point

Monitor the activity. Make a note of any typical errors and write useful vocabulary on the board.
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You can review this worksheet online at www.linguahouse.com/ex


Review your flashcards at least 3-5 times a week for 20 minutes to keep the material fresh in your memory.
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c
Linguahouse.com OC
P H OT