All posts by Sterileyes

What’s your crisis plan for Aussie flu, or other business health threat?

Send hime home
Hope for the best, plan for the worst. Send anyone infected home.

Your plan had better be good. Once these things get started, they go round like wildfire.

Half your office, out in one go. A whole team, down for weeks.

And just maybe a law suit, because you didn’t protect your team enough.

Plan, or else

Sure, flu jabs. Except it’s common knowledge this year’s vaccine is only 20% effective against the killer H3N2 strain. Lots of refusals from people who don’t want stuff injected into their bodies if it isn’t going to work.

What if it’s not Aussie flu, but the Japanese B / Yamagata strain – and the vaccine’s not available yet?

Or not flu at all, but some other illness that snuck in while everyone was looking elsewhere?

Can’t plan for everything? Quite true, you can’t – there’s no controlling anything your team might have picked up outside.

But again it’s common knowledge most offices are germ factories. Everybody all close together in the same space. Exposed to each other for hours, touching the same things, breathing the same air.

Just one person comes down with something and the ripple effect can last for months. Round and round, infecting and re-infecting each other. Enough to bring the whole business down, how do you plan for that?

You HAVE got a plan, right?

Not just flu

Like if it’s legionnaire’s disease, protecting your team is legally part of your duty of care. Not a virus, but a bacteria – legionella pneumophila. As its name suggests, an illness very much like pneumonia, which is where H3N2 can lead to if it gets out of control. And pneumonia is deadly – killing 50 million people back in 1918, the world’s worst ever epidemic.

But yes, legionnaire’s disease. One of a list of about 30 diseases you are legally required to shield your team from. It breeds in water systems and air conditioning units, but is breathed in from the air.

Gloss over taking precautions and the Health & Safety people will be all over you – a £1 million fine for Stoke-on-Trent based JTF Wholesale last year. Enough to put you out of business.

Getting sued of course is only part of it. Which is why having a plan is so crucial. What does it do to your business to have a load of people out of action all at once? And how do you contain infection from the handful you have left, holding the fort?

A big thanks to all our readers

This post today is our 500th  since we started, appropriately enough with How I Survived When Germs Killed My Business. Thank you for your support and interest, it’s people like you who keep us alive.

If nothing else, make your plan insist on one thing.

First sign of anyone being the slightest bit unwell, SEND THEM HOME.

They’re useless to you at work anyway – unable to concentrate, fighting an uphill battle with their bodies, spreading contagion to everyone else.

SEND THEM HOME and don’t let them log on either. They need to get better – and worrying about work stuff is only going to delay that. Paracetamol, rest – and at worst, mindless daytime television are about all they’re capable of handling. Let them be.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, you’ve got some rear-guarding to do.

Time for Plan B

Because the smitten ones might be gone, but not the germs they leave behind. And germs can survive in warm centrally-heated offices for weeks at a time.

Some of them might be airborne, swirled around in the continuously circulating air. Others lurk on surfaces, waiting to infect – on high-touch objects like keypads, touchscreens, light switches and control buttons. On all the other things people use too – documents, pens, keys, money, phones, handbags, wallets, clothing.

Better get your cleaning service on it, Priority One. Not just a wipe-down, but a deep clean. Give it the works, to take out everything that might hit you, not just Aussie flu.

Norovirus for instance gets everywhere and keeps bouncing back if not clobbered hard enough. The violent vomiting it causes is not just gruesome, it deliberately spreads tiny particles of itself everywhere, every little crack and crevice. Miss any out and it’ll be back, surer than Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Better still, not just a deep clean but actually sterilise the place. Make it so that all germs are gone completely. No Aussie flu, no legionnaire’s disease, no norovirus, no nothing – the only way to make 100% sure your team don’t catch anything.

Other than that, sit tight and wait for everybody to get better.

Kick in that other plan you have too. The one for dire emergencies. Like what to do when your building has a fire, a power-out loses your data, or floods stop you getting near for few months. If you need to know how to set one up, Newcastle City Council have a blueprint right here.

Good luck with everything. See you in summer when this is all over.

About this blog

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Why you CAN afford to let staff pull a sickie

Moneybags Boss 2
Handling a sickie right – you should be saving money, not losing it

What kind of sickie, fake or real?

And for a genuine cause, or is that a load of porkies too?

Because, you may not know this, but you’ve already written off the cost. It’s already paid, so it’s not like you’re out of pocket.

Your people investment

Kinda nice to have the background, though. To know that your investment is properly justified.

Huh? Already paid? Investment?

Sure. Written off, right? You’ve paid, or you’re about to.

It comes out of salaries, like every sickie does – real, as well as fake.

And you’re paying for a lot more besides.

Like all the times staff would like to pull a sickie, but don’t dare:

  1. They’re sick alright, but they’ve pulled one sickie too many, and now their job’s at risk.
  2. They’re too embarrassed or scared to ask about something, so come to work anyway.
  3. They’re hiding a real problem, and they don’t want anyone to know.
  4. They’re genuinely sick, but don’t reckon it’s bad enough to stay away.
  5. They’re genuinely sick, and don’t want to burden colleagues with extra work.
  6. They’re genuinely sick, but dread the reality of being home alone.
  7. They’re genuinely sick, but want to stop their rivals getting ahead of them.

Each one a non-sickie, yes? Because they’re at work.

The price of sickies-on-the-job

So the reality is, you’re now lumbered with sickies-on-the-job – and you’re paying for those too.

Because they’re at their desks, all present and correct – but not in proper shape to handle their work effectively. Feeling grim as all hell and going through the motions.

Under-powered and not really concentrating, what sort of work quality are they capable of delivering? And if their mind’s not fully on the job, how many errors are they making, or simply not recognising? At what cost?

Better the job’s not done at all if it’s botched. Plus you pay for it twice to get it right – and it takes twice as long. Where’s the economy in that?

Presenteeism, it’s called. About as much use to you as if they’d stayed home anyway.

And get this. On average, everyone on the payroll goes through it 57.5 days a year – including you. Ten times the number of days most people book off sick – almost three working months.

Never mind if every instance is kosher or not – the fact is, at the moment when it happens staff are not up to the job, even though they’re present. Unproductive and costing you money.

Affects everybody

And it’s not always your veteran skiver with a massive hangover every Monday either.  It’s just as likely to be your hot graduate newcomer, falling apart inside because her boyfriend dumped her. Or your IT whizz-kid in a blue funk about his gambling debts. Or your rock-steady accounts lady, trying to hide running to the loo every five minutes with some tummy bug.

Often illnesses, always issues. Some of them so big, they take over the whole person. Because we’re human and not always perfect – needing constant attention to keep ourselves functioning. Just look for the signs – fatigue, unusual temper, sudden changes in emotion, behaviour and appearance.

We’re not always on top form either. Like for instance, each of us has something that ails us about every three days. Headaches, back pain, stomach cramps, coughing like crazy. Or every cold and flu bug that goes around, a paper cut that goes septic, period pains, and the inevitable virus.

All of which prevents staff from doing their job properly. And all of which you pay for. The glitches and mistakes – and the salaries of course.

Twelve months’ salaries, nine months’ work

TWELVE MONTH salaries. Out of which your expectation is to get twelve months’ productivity.

Except presenteeism robs you of it – subtracts three working months’ worth for everybody on the payroll.

So whatever salaries you’re paying are effectively only nine months’ worth.

Which is why you can afford to indulge staff who pull a sickie. You’ve got 57.5 days you can afford to give away anyway – before making losses on REAL staff costs. 57.5 days with which to soothe their anguish, ease their worries – and establish your reputation as the most caring boss in the country.

Because count on it, most reasons for pulling a sickie are for genuine issues – staff just assume they’ll never be accepted. Aside from the lazy ones who can’t get motivated after holidays and weekends – and without strong commitment or enthusiasm for the job, who needs them anyway? One or two duvet days is OK – but after that, take a hike.

Super-boss

Anyway, granting time off because you can puts you in a different league. You’re a boss who understands and has staff interests at heart. Never mind going the extra mile, you’ll have them eating out of your hand.

Look at it from their point of view. So how DO you explain that Argos say they’ll deliver some time between 8.00 am and 5.00 pm – which means hanging around like a spare part or the goods get stolen? And how easily it’s fixed by taking the laptop and working from home.

How much better do you feel that you can attend Aunt Bessie’s funeral and carry the flag for your side of the family so the in-laws don’t get sniffy?

Or better still, that you can go for the knee op – and take proper time to convalesce – not hobble round like a peg-leg pirate for the rest of your life?

Time for your staff is the most valuable motivator you can have. And every business has the opportunity to deploy it – a whole new dimension to your duty of care.

Inspired, motivated, committed

Suddenly working for you becomes sought after and special – a valuable recruitment plus and retention advantage. The trick now as Mr Nice Guy is to coax back as many of those 57.5 days as you can to bump up productivity.

Flexible working is a great start – particularly as some staff may have a commute of two hours or more – and this week there are further delays on East Anglia / Virgin / South East / Thameslink. Besides, coping with sick kids gets easier when operating hours aren’t rigid and people can log in remotely at two in the morning.

Just make sure every issue is properly discussed and reviewed afterwards. If you’re giving time away it has to have value, be appreciated as a privilege, given proper respect.

And you can claw back more time by racking up workplace wellness.

No, no, not the feelgood bribes of gym membership, fitness clinics, stop smoking groups and diet classes. Yes, they work, but they don’t win back time.

We mean REAL workplace wellness – actually making the place safer and healthier from any illnesses caught from the office environment or from colleagues.

It’s dead easy too – and not expensive. Add sterilising the office to your regular evening cleaning sessions and there are no illnesses to catch.

Once again you’ve proved to staff you have their interests at heart, making the place pleasant to work in and safe from germs.

Now who would want to pull a sickie after that?

About this blog

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

It’s up to us now – if we don’t each of us help the NHS, nobody else will

Doctors warning - help the NHS
The writing’s on the wall – help the NHS, or we’ll all go down together

Forget the headlines and the soundbites – the only people who can help the NHS now are ourselves.

Never mind WHY there’s a crisis, if we all of us do our bit, we can get through this together.

First off, the NHS are right – don’t get ill. We’ve got to stop running to them unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Help the NHS – no more chances

There’s too many of us otherwise. Our numbers just swamp the place.

So we’ve got to stop making ourselves ill. Taking chances with our health that don’t do us any good.

Like our dodgy hygiene – we’re really lousy at keeping ourselves clean.

OK, we can’t see germs, so we can be excused for thinking that we don’t LOOK dirty.

We know about germs though, and the kind of precautions we should take.

But because we LOOK OK, we don’t do anything – and we hate being nannied about it.

None of which will help the NHS.

With an Aussie flu epidemic about to hit, on top of the usual winter tsunami, being precious about washing our hands is not exactly useful.

Especially when our track record is so iffy:

Ugh, the winter vomiting bug

Which gets really crazy when you think of the winter vomiting bug.

Norovirus is highly infectious and spreads on contact. Yet nine times out of ten, if ever we come down with it, we always blame the restaurant or fast food outlet of food poisoning.

Sure, the vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps are so bad, we have to blame it on someone. It’s just extra hard to swallow that we caused it ourselves.

None of which can help the NHS when we show up, moaning and groaning. Norovirus is the one thing that can go round everywhere like wildfire – the last thing they need on top of the winter flood of patients and Aussie flu.

How are we so sure that norovirus is usually self inflicted?

It’s not just the poor washing of hands, it’s whether they’re washed at all.

Think about your day, from the time you left for work, to the time you meet your friends for dinner at the pizza  joint.

Think about the things you’ve touched that other people touch as well – the heavy traffic hand contacts everybody else makes, also without washing their hands.

Door handles, light switches, keypads, money, keys, hand rails, grab handles for instance. When do those things ever get cleaned – and how germified are they before you touch them?

Follow that with a whole day at the office, with perhaps 2 or 3 trips to the loo, and just maybe you’re also in that gruesome 62% or 40%. Yes, it’s possible. You do the whole day and show up for eats, without even washing once.

And then you order a double pepperoni and pineapple – which you EAT WITH YOUR HANDS.

So where does the food poisoning come from – out of the pizza oven, or off your own fingers?

Same thing with burgers, chicken drumsticks, kebabs, hot dogs, chips, bacon butties and anything else you munch on the go.

Finger lickin’ good, sure. And finger lickin’ norovirus, e.coli, campylobacter, salmonella or whatever else you swallowed at the same time.

Soap and water and safe

Yet all it takes – to help the NHS and spare yourself the agony – is a short session with soap and water. Always before food and always after the loo.

The same five minutes should help you duck the Aussie flu too. Because, yes, it’s airborne, but mostly spread on contact. Those gobs of snot and dribble are too heavy to stay up for long. Keep your hands and face clean and you can avoid them altogether.

Which is exactly how best to help the NHS.

Avoidance.

Don’t get ill in the first place, and the four-hour misery of A&E never happens. You never have to worry about getting a bed, or a possible appointment with the Grim Reaper in the corridor.

You do your bit – and everybody else does theirs – suddenly the NHS stands a fighting chance.

No more slagging them off. That belongs to the politicians, who can’t keep their mitts off, pretending to organise things. They’re not doctors, and they’re not managers – so what would they ever know about running a health service?

They’re the mob who shut down all the care homes, so the old folks have no place to go except stay in their hospital bed. The same mob who contracted local doctors so they’re no longer on call – and don’t work evenings or weekends either.

Want to see your GP? Sorry, on the golf course, come back next week.

See your Westminster wunderkind

All of which means contact your local party wunderkind and give them hell. All those people crowding into the NHS are their doing and it’s up to them to stop things.

And if you really want to help the NHS, make them think about the future too, not just the votes they’ll lose next time we go to the ballot box. Because if this winter’s NHS crisis looks bad, get ready for Armageddon in ten years’ time.

According to Dr Dame Sally Davies, England Chief Medical Officer, two calamities are coming that make Aussie flu look like child’s play.

The first is antibiotic resistance. Those wonder-drugs that make modern medicine such a miracle are rapidly becoming useless. The bacteria they’re up against have mutated themselves into immunity. All of a sudden, basic surgery isn’t possible any more – no heart bypasses, no hip replacements, no C-section births. You could even die from a paper cut.

Worse still, there’s no replacement. Nothing in the pipeline. The medicine cupboard is bare ands we’re back to the Dark Ages.

The second is obesity. Already two-thirds of us are either fat or obese – and a third of our kids too. All set for the slippery slope to asthma, type 2 diabetes, possible amputations, heart disease and cancer. Unless something is done quick, 30 million of us are going to die – long, slow and agonising – half the population of UK.

The politicians are doing nothing about these either. Still thinking about lunch, their picture in the paper, and a salary equivalent to five nurses.

So, want to help the NHS?

Lay it on the line to your local wunderkind – do something now, before it’s too late.

Oh, and keep your hands clean while you’re doing it. It could save your life.

About this blog

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Wow, one-third more output without buying new tech

Business on time
People assets are not like computers, their output feeds on the time you give them

It can be done. One-third more output with exactly the same resources you are using now. Same infrastructure, same people, same business plan.

You just have to get your head round how it’s done.

Change the way you think

Because the big change is attitude shift – changing the way you think about how you value your assets.

Yes, it’s the Twenty-First Century so a lot rides on technology. Every business needs IT – now should you go AI or VR?

A big investment, technology. The key to output efficiency pretty well everywhere. Which probably means you’re tight on security to protect it. And rightly paranoid about keeping performance tiptop, being fully compliant, maintaining momentum at the cutting edge of competitiveness.

Not wrong, it’s a major asset. But there’s another, even bigger.

Your people.

Without them doing the driving, all the technology in the world doesn’t amount to a row of beans. Oh sure, a lot can be done with full automation. But if you want to move forward, to duck and dive successfully ahead of everyone else, it’s your people making it happen hands on.

Yes people. A challenge to manage even with top-notch HR. Complex, changeable and often unpredictable. Yet without them, output would be zero.

OK, so ask yourself a question.

People assets are not the same

Do you look after your people assets with the same care as your technology?

If a connection goes down or a server glitches, you probably have IT on the spot within minutes, right? Hiccups in software or interrupted data flow, the experts are on it pretty well immediately.

Uh huh. And if one of your people assets goes down?

It’s only a cold, but no big deal – everybody gets them, no reason to stop working. So cough-sniffle, they stay sat their desk, office discipline and all that – keeping up the work ethic.

Yeah, right. Except if that was a computer, there’d be a replacement in there PDQ – and geeks crawling all over it to find out what went wrong. Time is money and you can’t afford to be offline.

Meanwhile, it’s not actually a cold, it’s the incubation stage of Aussie flu. But there your people asset  sits, heroic at their desk – a shining example of loyalty and commitment. Quite right too, if you gave them time off they’d only take advantage of it, right?

Maybe in Nineteenth Century salt mines.

But what makes a PERSON glitch different from an IT one? You can’t tell a computer, “take two paracetamol and call me in the morning”.

Time to be offline

Even so, working with a cold means under-performing – not fully concentrating, making mistakes, slowing output, costing money. So why isn’t the people unit booked offline? Why aren’t the geeks all over the issue to suss it out and take care of it?

Because yes, there’s a problem – and it’s a virus. And nothing scares the daylights out of IT and management more than a virus running amok in the company system.

But a people asset with a virus?

Maybe grudgingly let off work for a day or too. Though the damage is done, isn’t it? The Aussie flu is incubating in several more assets at the same time. Passed on from the original infection – as attachments to keypads, touchscreens, or simply documents hitting the in-tray. Because a person has no spam filter or scanning security to warn that anything is infected.

And so it goes – more not concentrating, more mistakes, slower output, even more money. If not Aussie flu, then something else. Because we humans might think we’re untouchable – it’s OTHER PEOPLE who catch MERS, SARS, MRSA, or non- acronym ailments like pneumonia, e.coli, salmonella, norovirus, or any one of a billion others.

Until we catch it too, but nobody gives us time.

Time changes everything

Which is where the big attitude shift comes in, giving your people assets time.

Because right now, today, every one of us succumbs to some kind of ailing condition every three days or so. A headache, a pulled muscle, a paper cut. And very frequently, something more serious. An allergy, stomach condition or emotional stress.

Again, no big deal. Except often it is, but we’re terrified about job security. So we come to work anyway – showing the flag. Not me, I’m not the weak one, I’m here for the long haul.

Take emotional stress – a third of the reasons why people assets have to go offline from work. It’s not a business issue that their kids are being bullied at school, that ma-in-law is diagnosed with cancer, or the bank has pulled the plug on the mortgage.

They sure as hell matter to the people asset though. To the point that they can’t think straight, which is why the fender-bender in the carpark. And you don’t know it yet, but the decimal point that got missed on the tender documents, so you’re committed to doing the job at a tenth of the cost – goodbye to any profits for the next five years.

Or not. Because it’s the easiest thing in the world to say, “Don’t worry, take as long as you need and sort it, we’ll keep your seat warm for when you come back.”

Giveaway downtime

Yeah downtime, giving it away.

Except you’re giving it away already though you don’t know it. And you’ve already paid for it.

Health issues at work – from sickness, mental anguish or on-going muscular conditions – affect ALL people assets for 57.5 days a year on average. Almost three working months. Three working months during which work is impaired by lesser concentrating, inevitable mistakes, and slower than ever output.

Which means people are only fully productive nine months of the year. But your expectation is for a full twelve months – and that’s what you pay for.

Excuse us, but you’ve got 57.5 days to play with that you can give away however you like.

Take three days off, and come back when you’re better.
Sure, go see the specialist, get that therapy started.
Of course, go to the funeral, family come first.
Yes, your daughter’s concert is fine – and bring me back some photos.

Give that time away and you get it back with interest. Who wouldn’t feel committed, working for you? Who wouldn’t want to go the extra mile? And who wouldn’t tell the competitor trying to poach them to go and blow bubbles?

Hail to the hero

All of a sardine you’re the hero, the one everybody wants to work for. You understand, you care, you’re a people person. You give away time because you know how people tick.

And you make time too, getting some of your own back.

Once you recognise illness at work as a challenge that can be beaten, you can stop it happening. Prevent germs in the workplace and there’s no illness for anyone to catch – or to pass on if they brought it in from outside. All it takes is nightly sterilising treatment.

OK, so you’ve clobbered the germs and defused the stress – that leaves the muscular aches and pains. Worth your while to get a massage machine and a visiting therapist. Because now you’ve solved what you’re losing 57.5 days a year for.

Looks kinda nice on the balance sheet too. Up till now you’ve been paying 12 months salary, but only getting 9 months’ worth. Now you’re gaining the best part of another 3 months worth – one-third more for the same money.

One-third more output – and all you did was change the way you think about things.

Now with the extra money you make, you can afford the technology you were looking at but didn’t dare invest in before.

Easy-peasy now though.

AND you’re ready to take on the world

About this blog

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Got your business insured against Aussie flu yet?

Biz team against Aussie flu
This year’s Aussie flu is everywhere – unless you’re insured against it

H3N2 it’s called. Three times more horrible and twice as nasty – shouldn’t you be insured against this potentially deadly killer?

So far it’s zapped Oz and France – and already swamped most of UK. Not good, however you skew it.

Got you, right in the balance sheet

Particularly for business. Half your team off, all at the same time. The other half hanging in, waiting for it to hit. Critical jobs stalled, errors all over from battling to cope.

So how are you doing for protection?

You have it for data, of course – insured big time, belt and braces. Encryption from hackers, surge protection on every computer, your servers backed up to the cloud.

But how about your people?

All that data means nothing without them – to shape it, plan with it and drive it forward.

And between them and disaster is a flu jab that’s only 20% effective? Come on, now!

Time to start that quarantine rule you’ve been trying to avoid. The one that sends staff home for ANY kind of ailment – cough-sniffle, tummy cramps, pounding head, the works.

Boy, you’re going to get it

Because, sure as hell, what goes around comes around. So if one of your team gets it, sooner or later they all will.

Forget discipline or calling them wimps. How good is the work quality they produce when they’re sitting there, feeling like grim death?

And how are you going to protect everyone else? Put screens round them and shut off the air-con, just to keep the sick ones up to the mark? Hardly insured at all – good luck with that.

Send them home and they can’t do any damage.

Then get some serious protection going. Antibacterial hand gel or wipes on every desk for a start. Most infections start from things we touch, so clean hands are the first defence.

Getting rid of all germs is next.

If the place is sterile, nobody can catch anything. Not unless they bring it in themselves – and you’ve already triggered the quarantine rule, the first part of being insured.

The workplace war zone

But count on it, there’s germs everywhere – unless you do something.

And good though it might be, that nightly office cleaning service is usually just to make things neat and tidy. Vacuum the floors, empty the trash, give it the once-over.

Meantime, the germs sit unchecked on the high-touch areas – fomites, the experts call them. Touch-screens, keyboards, control buttons, light switches, door handles. And personal stuff like handbags, wallets, keys, money, clothing, you name it.

Plus of course, the air itself – 80% of any room space. Stuff we breathe and move through without thinking. Full of dust, smoke, all kinds of particles – and germs, of course.

OK, so maybe you have an ioniser, or a HEPA filter like they have on jet liners. Except ionisers don’t get rid of anything – it either sticks to plates inside the machine, or to the walls. HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters work better, but only down to particles of around 3 microns – horrible nasty H3N2 is smaller than that.

And anyway, both machines only process the air that sucks THROUGH them. Everywhere else is untouched. Not insured at all.

Just like the bug busters

But despair not, there’s other methods like bug exterminators use – that fumigate the whole place after everyone’s gone home. A lot gentler, but highly effective, they take out germs on all surfaces and from the air itself, making the place sterile like you need.

The alternative?

Well you COULD take out a conventional insurance policy against your staff coming down with anything. Not cheap, if you’re hoping for cover against everything. And unless you pay whopping premiums, you’d still be out of pocket for staff who DID go off sick and all the system hiccups that would cause. Not so hot for your bank balance, or productivity.

One thing’s for certain though. This Aussie flu’s not going away overnight.

Your choice then.

Is your business prepared to take a chance without being insured?

About this blog

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi. Achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. The only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Unwell at work means temporarily disabled – incapable, unproductive, severely handicapped

Temporarily disabled - Unwell at work
Unwell at work, you’re temporarily disabled from doing your job properly – until you get better

Disabled is the only way to describe it.

Because, come down with the mother and father of all colds and no-one’s capable of anything.

So why hang around at work, pretending?

Head like boiled knitting, concentration shot to pieces, miserable as sin, and highly infectious.

Sounds like disabled to us.

Disabled and incapable

And that’s just for a cold. Much worse with shigella, e.coli or a staph infection. Or really serious illnesses like meningitis, bronchitis or pneumonia.

They all feel the same when they start – lousy all over, temperature, splitting head, nausea. Exactly what’s needed in a high-powered sales meeting, or a customer query on the phone.

Possibly doing more damage in ten seconds than most business calamities. A million miles away from the slick professional who usually handles the job.

So yes, every bit as disabled as anyone confined to a wheelchair.

Only worse, because at least wheelchair people know their limitations – and there’s seldom anything wrong with their brain. They’re more motivated too, more aware of critical scrutiny and any threat to job security.

But able-bodied people unwell at work are avoiding reality – for themselves as well as you. Kidding themselves that they ARE up to the mark. Everyone else is at their desk, putting in the hours, they’re not going to be found wanting.

Except by their very actions they are – dragging themselves into the office, sitting there suffering while they go through the motions. Your hottest assets, suddenly instant liabilities.

Which means – even though he was talking through his hat – the Chancellor was right in saying that disabled people impact productivity measurements. He just had the WRONG disabled people.

Three months lost, every year

And there’s plenty of evidence.

In last year’s Insight report by Global Corporate Challenge (now Virgin Pulse) – a study involving nearly 2,000 employees and validated against the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Workplace Health and Productivity Questionnaire (HPQ) – workers confessed to being unproductive on the job for 57.5 days each – almost three working months.

Woh!

So the average employee is only productive nine months of the year, not twelve. For the remaining three months they’re disabled at their desks, not delivering the skills and expertise they were hired for. Determined, but still soldiering on. Living demonstration of how productivity goes for a loop.

And what’s the price of this disabled work?

Possibly too enormous to calculate, though here’s a good try. Mistakes are not always minor and omissions not always easy to excuse. One unguarded moment by a key team member can mean absolute disaster – productivity zero, and the end of the business.

Engagement and duty of care

All of which suggests it’s time for a serious look for how management values human capital. And the realism with which Britain looks at the productivity puzzle. Future investment is one thing – but what are we doing about illnesses that RETARD three month’s worth of our productivity every year – at a cost of £319 billion?

If nothing else, flexible working is an immediate fix, achievable right now, today.

Job One for any management is duty of care to staff. Of which a top priority by law is protecting them from hazards to their health – including biological agents (bacteria and other micro-organisms)… if the exposure is incidental to the work. Official recognition that coughs and sneezes spread diseases.

So never mind what the policy or discipline issues are – if staff aren’t well, SEND THEM HOME.

Flexible working is the right of every employee, which includes working from home – a good quarantine defence for the rest of the team from the one who’s ailing. And these days, with everyone connected by laptop or tablet, does it really make a difference if they’re not at their desks anyway?

Handling illness and stress

That is of course, if the team member is capable of working – not disabled by whatever bug has triggered the issue in the first place. With most jobs needing a high degree of focus and concentration, it’s best to think in black and white. Either they’re well enough to do their job, or they’re not.

There’s no place for grey – what organisation can afford the mistakes a temporarily disabled person inevitably is going to make? Not well means not well – and they are better off out of it – grounded from work until they are better.

Flexible working in any case solves other issues that may stress staff into being disabled – easing the image of disciplinarian bosses who don’t give a damn and penalise staff for not being in attendance.

Most staff are dedicated enough, but it’s hard to show commitment when life’s daily challenges get in the way. Juggling them against the job easily causes worry which impacts productivity – disabled by stress when flexible working could solve it.

Train delays for instance, are a fact of life in the South East. It could be a strike, leaves on the line or the wrong kind of sunshine – being repeatedly late for work piles up unnecessary black marks, so easily remedied by logging in remotely on the days when they happen.

Worth their weight in gold

Likewise, time off to sort family and personal issues.

Frowned at by strict management, but worth their weight in gold to grateful staff who stress about them. Going to the doctor, confronting a child’s school about bullying, getting the car fixed, sorting out finances. Who cares if staff log on at two in the morning, as long as the work gets done on time?

Worth their weight in gold to management too – as the accounting and legal sector demonstrate. Flexible working contributes to their productivity being the highest in the country. Calculated by the ONS at an output of £68.10 per hour – more than double the national average of £32.20.

Meanwhile, how about the CAUSE of temporarily disabled staff so seriously retarding productivity?

Being unwell at work is one thing – a bug can be picked up anywhere. But with most staff working together and sharing the same space upwards of eight hours a day, becoming unwell at work is a much more likely possibility.

Sharing the same space, breathing the same air, touching the same things. And all the time exposed to each other’s germs, and the germs riding around every one of us. As out of sight and invisible as the air they float in, sound waves, ideas – and modern day intangibles like cryptocurrency.

1½ days less than the Germans

Get rid of the germs, and Britain’s productivity jumps from nine months a year to a full twelve – a thundering boost out of the blue of 33%. What other country in the world can match that achievement – not by pressing on the accelerator, but by simply releasing the brakes?

And it’s easy too. Right now, any organisation can eliminate all germs daily in as little as 40 minutes. No germs means no more infections, no more unwell at work, no more temporarily disabled staff.

Forget British workers taking an extra day to match the Germans for weekly productivity. Press the sterilising button and we’ll be finished in 1½ days LESS.

So there Klaus, stick that in your haffenpfaffenpfeife and smoke it!

About this blog

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi. Achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. The only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Boost productivity by up to a third – without investing millions

Exec pondering millions in invesment
Millions for the future – by recovering millions from the present

Yes, yes, British productivity is lagging. We have to up our game – millions for infrastructure, millions for digital technology.

Which is great, if we’ve got millions. But what if we haven’t?

What if, like a lot of businesses, things are just scraping by, productivity is down and it’s slowing everything further?

Hold that thought, slowing everything down.

Held back and handicapped

Like things are dragging, wheels locked and brakes full on.

Because that’s exactly what’s happening.

We’re all working harder and longer, going the extra mile – slaving an extra 29 days every year according to reports, with one in 10 of us working the equivalent of 15 months a year

And still our productivity trails 18 points behind other G7 nations.

How come we work more and produce less – compared with the Germans, who work less (35 hours a week average) and produce more?

It’s not like we’re stupid or lazy. Our brightest minds are world leaders, and lazy people could never stomach the hours most of us put in.

So however much we splurge on the latest bells and whistles, we might at best still find ourselves level pegging with the other G7. While the Germans motor past us, laughing all the way to the bank.

Millions and millions and millions.

Breaking the shackles

But driving things forward has never been our problem – it’s breaking the shackles that hold us back.

OK, a lot of businesses are starting to recognise this – and revising the ways they value their human capital. They’re not machines, they need looking after. Inspiration, engagement and involvement are the new watchwords – and wellbeing is the new game.

Lots of positive thinking – which is why nobody ever addresses the negative. It’s treating symptoms, not cause. Exploring remedies before isolating what ails us.

What ails us – meet the elephant in the room.

What makes us sick is seldom on anybody’s radar – including the sufferer’s. We get sick, we get sick – it happens, and most of us just accept it.

Accept and keep schtum.

Because sick is what most of us are, a lot of the time at work.

The stiff upper lip

But we don’t let on, in case it gets us fired. Replaced by somebody younger and hungrier. Or in case our colleagues feel let down. Forced into double tasking without a by your leave. Or because we’re too damned responsible for our own good and can’t relinquish the work load.

It’s the curse of presenteeism – and we’re all party to it. The British stiff upper lip.

Being unwell at work, but carrying on anyway. Slogging onwards with head pounding and guts heaving, hoping nobody will notice. Desk-pounding when we should be home in bed with antibiotics and a hot water bottle, keeping our germs away from colleagues.

57.5 days a year, we’re like that – almost three working months. Stressed out like crazy because we know we’re not performing. And shockingly ignorant that a lot of the time, we’re ill from sloppy hygiene at work.

And sloppy is being kind, most of the time it’s disgusting. Because we can’t see germs, we don’t even think of the danger, let alone trying to avoid it.

But germs can, and do, kill. Or do us permanent damage. Even the smallest infection can trigger life-threatening consequences, ten or twenty years down the line.

For hygiene, read logiene

Meanwhile, our workplace preventive measures are almost non-existent.

On the personal level, we’re even worse – as if we have a death wish:

Which is why, for nearly three months of the year, the work we’re capable of is sometimes barely competent. Everything has to be done twice, and is invariably late when it gets there. Nobody can concentrate when they’re not themselves – though we like to kid ourselves that we can.

Millions in germonomics

But look at the economics of that – or should we say, the germonomics.

Three months of the year, the team are basically out of action – at their desks yes, but really just going through the motions. Effectively that means they only work nine months of the year, not twelve. Nowhere near as productive as we’d like to think.

Now suppose with just a little investment in health protection, you could remove germs from the workplace entirely. Make the place sterile – no viruses, no bacteria, no fungi, no nothing. Yes, it can be done – and yes, the technology exists now.

Get rid of the germs and 57.5 days a year of being unwell at work melt into the distant past. Out of the blue, three extra working months become available, alongside the nine months worth of work currently – productivity up a third.

The self-funding future

Better still, it’s already paid for.

Salaries stay the same, at a full twelve months worth. Only now the business is getting its full money’s worth – three months up on the minimal nine months possible previously. The end of a three months handicap – no wonder productivity was down!

Which means unlike investing millions in a digital future, the business saves millions from the existing present. Millions, which if then invested in technology, are like setting the afterburners to warp speed.

Them Germans had better watch out – laughing all the way to the bank indeed.

Hans, was ist los?

About this blog

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi. Achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. The only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Ban lunch at your desk, rescue lost productivity

Burger at desk
54% of office people eat lunch at their desks – and take one hell of achance doing it

Here it comes, the usual blah about talking a break, you need to get out more. Actually, just lift your keyboard and lunch is there – from yesterday, or the day before, or maybe last week.

Not all of it, of course. You ate that.

But there’s plenty of crumbs and bits. Along with grit, dust bunnies and other yuck. Maybe not enough for a mouse or cockroach – but great for a whole colony of bacteria. A few million e.coli for instance, or rampant staphylococcus – a legend in its own lunch time.

That’s right, germs.

Just sitting there, waiting for you to touch them – and put your fingers in your mouth ten minutes later.

Because that’s what we do, you know. Touch our mouth, eyes and nose every few minutes, sometimes 3,000 times a day.

One touch is all it takes

Exactly how that cold, flu or tummy bug starts – or whatever nasty it is that starts at the office.

Because you haven’t washed your hands, have you? Maybe not since you left home. During which time you’ve handled gloves, keys, money, your handbag or wallet, door handles, lift buttons, grab handles on the bus, the push button at a pedestrian crossing, and loads of others.

All things we know and use every day. But when you think about it, never get cleaned or wiped from one year to the next. Not unless some accident happens, like salad dressing from your sandwich squidges all over them.

Clean hands are a start – way fewer germs. Except they stop being clean as soon as you touch something. Because what are the chances the thing you touch isn’t covered in germs too?

Blowing off the dust won’t crack it. Neither will a once-over with a damp rag. An antibacterial will do better – except you still can’t get all the nooks and crannies. Specially in that tangle of wires at the back of your computer.

Bad bugs, waiting for you

Hardly surprising. The average desk for instance, has 10 million germs on it. Gets a wipe-down every night when the swamp-out team do the place. Which basically transfers all the germs from the next desk to yours and around the whole office.

Nary a deep clean, except maybe once a year. Which also tends to be a wipe-down, only this time with bleach. Not too strong though, because of the smell. And not for too long either, that stuff eats plastic and corrodes metal. So actual contact time to kill germs is pretty minimal.

And you want to each your lunch there?

Helps to explain how it is that each of us has something wrong with us every few days or so. An infected cut, headache, acid reflux or simply feeling lousy. Around every three days, according to research.

And we still expect ourselves to be 100% on-the-ball, alert and fully focused? Who are we kidding that our work is up to scratch feeling like that? Like it or not, we’re making mistakes, missing detail and taking way longer than we should to do stuff.

Unwell at work, stress, not a good lunch

That’s a lot of time, money and anguish down the drain, from trying to be a hero at our desks. 57.5 days a year, we struggle like that. Unwell at work almost three working months.

Work in an open plan office and those numbers just multiply. More people with more germs – spread around by sharing the same space, touching the same things and the ever-helpful air con stirring the atmosphere.

Bring back dog-box offices, take your lap-top to the coffee shop – or better still, work from home!

On top of which is the stress of knowing we should stay home, we’re contagious – but not wanting to call in sick. Worried about job security or being labelled a wimp. Colleagues blaming us for leaving them in a lurch. Being left out of the loop. Or accused of skiving off.

All from germs on your desk – and multiplied several times over by eating lunch there.

OK, so you go out for lunch. You were trying to save money, but at least you’ll avoid the germs.

Germs everywhere

Until you come back.

Because the germs don’t just come from food. They’re on everything and everywhere, held in check only by our body’s immune system.

Well, yes – because when DO you wash your hands?

Galloping through the day, such basic hygiene isn’t even on our radar. More like “logiene”, because:

Can’t win, can we?

Go out to avoid germs, wash our hands – we catch them anyway.

Unless the place is treated so there aren’t any – by an effective health protection system. Rendered germ-free, so we arrive in the morning and it’s sterilised. No germs to catch, nothing contagious – we’re safe.

Zero germs, zero illness

Yeah, sure – we bring in germs from outside, on our skin and our clothing, we can’t avoid that.

Meanwhile the germ threshold is zero, we’re less likely to come down with anything.

Our colleagues too. Three working months per person snatched from the jaws of lost productivity. Fewer mistakes, better concentration, less stress, jobs finished on time – no need to work late.

You wouldn’t have to ban lunch at your desk either – though the crumbs and stuff will still happen.

How you handle that is your problem. Wipes and hand gel would be good.

No worries if you forget though.

The health protection system’s got your back – and you can get away with it.

About this blog

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi. Achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. The only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

 

Why loads of corporate wellness plans carry a bitter taste

Worried lady is she bitter?
Plenty to be bitter about – one day we’re all going to be fat, no matter how good the corporate wellness plans

Ever tasted antibiotics? Probably not, they’re bitter as all hell.

Which you’ll know soon enough if you bite through a capsule without meaning to.

Except, excuse us, what do antibiotics have to do with corporate wellness plans?

Only that they’re why most corporate wellness plans exist in the first place.

And with growing realisation that looking after employee health is a major business objective, corporate wellness plans are already the Next Big Thing.

The wellness bandwagon

Look no further than the new emphasis on physical activity in business workplaces. Big buck outfits put in swimming pools and running tracks, while smaller ones have gyms. Or if budgets can’t stretch to that, sponsored membership of the keep-fit centre down the road.

Skilled staff are assets to be wooed and cultivated long-term. So the new drive is an investment against long-term health conditions like the nation’s rapidly increasing obesity epidemic. Two thirds of British adults are already overweight or obese, marking them inevitably as future victims of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Which is why pretty well all front-line businesses are gung-ho for a “fitness against fatness” strategy.

There’s only one problem.

Yes, we’re all getting fatter, which is not good for our long-term health. And yes, most office jobs are sedentary and involve very little moving around. But while exercise and fitness is undoubtedly a good thing, it often has little or no effect on encouraging weight loss.

That’s because, as Lord McColl, emeritus professor of surgery at Guys Hospital and former shadow health minister told Parliament last year, “It is impossible to be obese unless one is eating too many calories.”

The bitter pill

Ergo, we’re fat because we’re eating too much.

And why, after thousands of years of our bodies most of the time naturally remaining slim and trim, are we suddenly eating more than we should?

It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but we all do it without knowing.

We’re all eating too much because of antibiotics.

Unless we’re farmers, few of us are aware that antibiotics are phenomenal growth boosters – used in great volumes across the board for food production to sustain our massive explosion in population growth over the past 65 years – from 2½ billion worldwide in 1952 to 7½ billion today.

We think of antibiotics as medicines, the miracle life-savers of our modern age. In reality this is a side effect, now secondary to their main function as growth boosters in agriculture. Believe it or not, 240,000 tonnes of antibiotics are shovelled into animal and plant production every year.

Like it or not, that means sustained sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics are in everything we eat – meat or vegetable – particularly over the last 20 years with the introduction of factory farming.

Without any idea that it’s happening, our own bodies react in the same way to these continuous low doses. We eat more and more, beyond when our natural needs and requirements would normally tell us to stop.

Obesity epidemic

So like the animals, we fatten up fast – but with a difference. They are only going to survive 45 weeks, until they are ready for market. We keep on going, not just getting fat but getting fatter – almost accepted as the new norm. So everyday in fact, that there is now an international resort that caters expressly for the plus-sized.

Not good news for corporate wellness planners. Enough to make them bitter and twisted. Because no matter how elaborate the facilities they put in to encourage our fitness, with the exception of the health-obsessed, we’re all just going to get fatter.

The very long-term health conditions they’re trying to avoid are on their way – we’re literally eating ourselves into diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Nor is that the only thing to be bitter about.

With all the big bucks focus on corporate wellness, nobody seems to be thinking workplace health protection. A running track might be great for muscle tone, but it won’t stop a tummy bug like norovirus. Nor will antibiotics, come to that – though we strongarm the Doc for them.

Antibiotics: a living curse

Meanwhile our workplaces are crawling with germs that may never be removed, even with regular cleaning. On high-touch surfaces and in the air – a possibly deadly health hazard most corporate planners are never aware of – and a £319 billion dent in our national productivity.

Plenty to be bitter about – though workplace germs CAN be eliminated at the touch of a button.

The bigger problem is antibiotics. We can’t live with them, and we can’t live without them. They save lives, but antimicrobial resistance from overuse is rapidly making them useless. And they promote growth – bigger animals, quicker; larger plant crops, faster – without which there wouldn’t be enough food to feed us all.

Altogether, a train we cannot get off.

No good being bitter about it though – and at least we get amazing places to work in.

About this blog

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi. Achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. The only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Our £319 BILLION productivity ball and chain

The £319 billion ball and chain
Unseen and unrecognised: the £319 billion unwellness issues holding productivity back

Why does British productivity keep dragging its heels? Because £319 billion of health issues are holding us back.

All the other things – lagging investment, ageing infrastructure, accelerating technology, diminishing experience and ever-younger staff – they’re all fixable, usually by throwing money at them.

But an unwell work force is not even on management radar.

Workers’ wellbeing yes, fitness packages, health advice and feelgood incentives are all over the place.

£319 billion of wheelspin

But £319 billion of unwell costs? Is anybody looking? Do they even know it exists?

Because that kind of money is not chickenfeed. More like ten times our defence budget. Three times the Brexit get-out bill. Two-and-a-half times the NHS budget.

And still nobody’s twigging it.

Management, government and consultants are all gung-ho, demanding full throttle. Meanwhile we’re still shackled to the wall, brakes hard on and going nowhere – the least performing economy among leading G7 countries. Lots of noise, but just wheelspin.

You see, £319 billion is the all-up cost of being unwell among work staff.  £29 billion for absenteeism. And £290 billion of presenteeism – people not well, but going to work anyway, a growing measure of wonky job security.

Wonky?

Oh yes.

Since 2008 and the financial crash, absenteeism has been falling steadily, down around 20%. Good, right?

We wish.

Rising costs

Presenteeism however, already 10 times greater – is on the increase.  Exactly how much is hard to calculate. Staff are reluctant to admit they have a condition, even to themselves . Many are convinced showing weakness could cost their jobs. So they tough it out, pretending otherwise.

We’ve all been there, to some level or other. Choosing to go to work with a cold, instead of staying home. We won’t get paid and it could be a black mark. Better than finding a replacement’s been hired while you weren’t at your desk.

So we go to work anyway, dosed up to the eyeballs. Day Nurse or something like it – so concentration is a bit loopy, there’s maybe a headache, blurred vision, ringing in the ears and we’re irritable as all hell.

Brains not working

Not exactly the best way to ensure proper service and attention to detail. A trap  for making mistakes or oversights too. And isn’t it a drag that everything takes so long?

Oh, and yes. We sneeze and throw tissues around, so our colleagues come down with it too. Or failing that, the HVAC system stirs our germs, upholding equal opportunity.

Or maybe it’s not a cold, but something worse. Flu, or a tummy bug, picked up from one of those high-touch surfaces around the office – door handle or light switch, or the START button on the photocopier.

Out of order minds

You can see it, can’t you? We’re not ourselves when we’re not well.  And most of us wind up with some kind of issue – minor injury, sprain, cut, infection, or food reaction every three days.

Hardly surprising either , when you realise how lax workplace hygiene can be:

Our personal hygiene is pretty lax too – we can’t see germs, so we think we’re OK. Meanwhile:

All of which is how come presenteeism is as high as it is – an average of 57.5 days a year, almost three working months. A quarter of a year lost to unfocused and non-concentrating minds – some ball and chain!

Which of course is why productivity is continually as low as it is. Businesses are paying for a full twelve months’ performance, but staff are only capable of delivering nine.

Knock-on effect

On top of that is the knock-on effect from errors and omissions made while unwell at work. A lot of money and a lot of time, with often below-standard levels of quality.

One heck of an issue not to be aware of – and one heck a lot of money to lose without realising it. The elephant is in the room, but nobody has recognised it yet – all £319 billion of it.

And fixing is just as invisible. Getting rid of germs is push-button easy for around the same cost as daily charring – a demonstration to staff that management actively cares  for their health AND wellbeing.

But it needs an attitude shift to capitalise on it.

Stay away

The workplace might be germ-free and sterile, but it has to be kept that way. If staff pick up an illness from outside, no matter how small, they should be encouraged to stay away. Because they spread germs that colleagues can catch. And because in their germified state, they contaminate everything they touch.

Encouraging a stay-away reassures staff, protects colleagues and promotes goodwill all round. And anyway, with flexible working, being out of the office is no longer as critical as it was. If staff REALLY have to participate, they can log on remotely from home. Though the understanding should be that if they’re not well, they’re not well – and being released from work responsibility is a function of getting better.

Starting engagement

Understanding and sympathising  with staff is in any case, a crucial component of engaging with them. They could equally be working from home because of a bus strike, or handling a personal issue – children’s needs at school, handling a home breakdown, going to a funeral.

Because germs are only one of the reasons staff are unwell at work. Stress is another, all too often also unaddressed by management. But getting rid of germs buys a lot of time – remember the default is nine months’ productivity instead of twelve – management can afford to be accommodating.

Time changes everything

Which is exactly what stress needs – time. Time to listen and time to interact.

Much of the anguish of stress at work is relieved by voluntarily giving an audience – listening to problems, complaints and suggestions before they become issues. They might not be big in the scheme of things, but in the head of the staff member troubled by them, they can be monsters.

And time is there to buy good will. No longer refused or grudgingly granted just this once. Now it’s possible to give away without loss – reclaimed from the missing 3 months productivity forgotten  and unrecognised until now. And all started by pressing a button to get rid of germs.

No holding back now, productivity should be free to advance however is required. Bye-bye ball and chain. Oh, and no more £319 billion price tag either.

As we said in a previous post, watch out world!

About this blog

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi. Achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. The only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.