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.
- The average desk has over 10 million unseen bacteria – 400 times more than a toilet.
- A typical keyboard may have 7,500 organisms hiding on it.
- Only one in five of us ever cleans our desk before eating.
- At least two in three of us always eat lunch there.
On the personal level, we’re even worse – as if we have a death wish:
- 62% of men and 40% of women NEVER wash their hands after going to the toilet.
- 95% of people don’t even wash their hands properly.
- Only 12% of people wash their hands before eating.
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.