Category Archives: Germonomics

How much could you be paying for invisible liabilities?

Thinking exec
Hmm – money you never even knew you had, all going down the tubes from germs. Enough is enough!

Wait a minute, invisible liabilities?

There’s no gaps on your balance sheet, everything’s all accounted for. What myths are we on about?

Actually, they’re a black hole.

And they’re probably invisible because you’ve written them off as something else.

There’s plenty of evidence of them though.

Just run your finger across your desk. Along the back, where all the computer cables are.

See it now?

Dust, city grime, crumbs from al desko lunches, general office detritus.

Yes, dirt. But that’s not all.

Too small to see, too expensive to ignore

It’s evidence of the real liabilities. Germs too small for the eye to see. That’s why they’re invisible.

OK, so germs. Maybe your office cleaners missed a bit.

Except germs are everywhere, all the time. Even in the air we breathe.

And they’re not all harmless.

Sitting in air conditioned splendour, you may not have heard of legionnaire’s disease.

But it’s your duty as a manager to protect your staff from it. A silly little germ not even a thousandth the thickness of a human hair.

Except that’s the law. As JTF Wholesale found recently when a £1 million fine hit them for neglecting it. And as G4S Cash Solutions discovered when Harlow Council nailed them for £1.8 million.

Which means, don’t mess around – get an expert to advise you.

Deadly too

Because you see, legionnaire’s disease is a nasty killer kind of super-pneumonia. And it breeds in water systems, central heating and air-con cooling towers. In pipes and showers too – anywhere that water lies still for more than a few hours.

Spread by air, once you breathe that in, it’s serious. Especially with a previous condition. Asthma perhaps, or a dicky ticker – even being a smoker is enough. Then it’s hospital and drugs and even then you might not make it.

And that’s just ONE of your invisible liabilities.

There’s plenty of others you can get hit for too – if you don’t take precautions.

Around 30 other notifiable diseases on the governments infectious diseases list. Monsters like cholera, typhoid, measles SARS, smallpox and yellow fever.

Duty of care

Not that you’re likely to see any of them. But it’s your duty to make sure your staff haven’t got them – per the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR).

Yes, sure – nothing to do with you. Unless it happens.

Nothing like the non-events in your workplace. A few snuffles and tummy bugs – chicken feed.

You wish.

It’s those day-to-day bugs that are your real invisible liabilities.

And we mean day-to-day. Surprisingly, every one of us only feels up to 100% par for two or three days at a time. Otherwise, in some way or other, we’re all off-colour several times a week. An ache, a twinge, an iffy feeling, always something.

Money, money, money

Which is why, for starters, business experts PwC put losses from absenteeism at around £29 billion a year.

Hardly chicken feed.

Even more costly are the heroes who struggle to work when they’re not well. Not fully recovered from something, but worried about job security. Wrestling with flu, and the same worries. Or staggering in with tummy cramps, and determined not to be fired.

Presenteeism, it’s called. And experts reckon it costs 10 times more than absenteeism – £290 billion a year.

Put the two together and that’s £319 billion that illness costs UK businesses.

Germonomics

So let’s see – £319 billion, possible fines of £1 million or more. Oh yes, and if you have a suspected outbreak of any kind, the Health & Safety people have a thing called their fee for intervention, which is also not pocket money.

Plus of course, all the losses caused by under-performing or not fully-focused staff desperate to keep going. Mistakes, missed deadlines, clients rubbed up the wrong way and other disasters. Germonomics we call it – and to calculate what it could be costing your own business, click here.

Seems those invisible liabilities are pretty hefty.

And the fix?

For under £1,000 a month your facilities management people can buy a machine that will ELIMINATE germs for you – as in eradicate, clear out, sterilise.

Or maybe your cleaning service can do it for you for few hundred extra.

A nightly mist-up with ionised hydrogen peroxide and ALL germs are gone – hunted out of existence by a prowling tiger of a germ-killer.

Give yourself a raise

Yeah, there might still be dust and breadcrumbs when you run your finger down your desk. But count on it, there’ll be NO germs. Your place is safe and secure to a 6-log Sterility Assurance Level.

Tell you what else.

You might not have been able to see your invisible liabilities. But you sure as heck won’t be able to hide the sudden dividend that getting rid of them will trigger.

Maybe you’ll even get yourself a raise out of it.

Next stop, Queasy Tummy and Norovirus – hold on tight please

Two girls on tube
Yes, hold on tight. But don’t touch anything else – and make sure your hands are clean afterwards. You life could depend on it.

Hold on? We don’t think so.

Be super careful, more like. OCD like your life depends on it.

Which it does.

Especially if you’re not carrying disposable gloves, antibacterial gel or hand wipes.

Because after our blog of yesterday,  it seems germs on the Underground are far more of a threat than we think – as this mind-boggling post from Dr Ed demonstrates.

Too many germs, too easy to touch

Not surprising with 5 million passengers a day.

All crammed in tight, breathing the same air, hanging on to the same poles and grab handles. And all with the same dodgy hygiene habits:

Yeah, right.

Dirty hands touching dirty things, is it any wonder we’re always coming down with something?

121 different kinds of viruses and bacteria – according to research commissioned by insurance experts,  Staveley Head. 9 of them superbugs – potentially lethal killers that doctors can no longer treat with antibiotics.

Catching a bug on the tube and taking it to work. Falling ill and having to call it in. And probably passing it round to colleagues while doing so.

And all at ENORMOUS expense

It’s that kind of exposure that contributes to the £29 billion a year that sick leave costs the country.

And even worse than that, the 10 TIMES MORE it costs in unwell people coming to work anyway and toughing it out. £290 billion and counting.

£319 billion that adds up to. Enough to bankroll the NHS a whopping TWO AND A HALF TIMES over.

Or closer to home, individual organisations can get a hold on their own costs here.

Staggering, right?

Yet what do we do about it?

All that money and people bleat about cuts.

When all the time there is money for the taking – £319 billion if we play our cards right – just by ramping up our hygiene.

Hygiene, hygiene, hygiene

Like washing hands properly and often – as the folks at Northampton Hospital have been telling us for the last five years.

And like doing something to get rid of those germs. Hold everything – stop the exposure, stop the illnesses, stop all that money going down the drain.

Which means time to say, “Hold it, enough.”

Because it IS possible to eliminate germs pretty well completely. They’ll come back of course, they always do. But just like brushing our teeth, it is possible to be safe and protected every day – in the workplace, on the tube, in fact anywhere there is an enclosed space.

All it takes is regular treatment with ionised hydrogen peroxide, and the problem goes away.

ALL viruses, ALL bacteria, ALL parasites, ALL mould – end of the line, gone.

So come on people, don’t put up with it any more. Right now, the average is that we’ll all feel off-colour in some way or other every three days. Aren’t we all heartily sick of it?

Already the tube people have gone far enough to worry about air quality and do something about that. So when are they going to get a hold on the germ issue?

Let’s hope we don’t need an epidemic first.

Picture Copyright: william87 / 123RF Stock Photo

How germs at the office just got more dangerous

Germs in the office
Yes it all LOOKS reassuring – but we’re not as safe as we think we are

Dangerous? Germs at the office?  Poppycock!

A dose of flu maybe – kid’s stuff.

You’re more likely to have an accident with the photocopier.

Except there ARE germs in the office.

And if you read your papers, you’ll understand why doing something about them suddenly got a lot more serious.

First off is the report about superbugs in our travel network.

Nasties in the Underground

Research by taxi insurers Staveley Head recently turned up 121 different types of bacteria and mould in buses, taxis and in the tube – 9 of them antibiotic resistant.

As Staveley Head’s spectacular website demonstrates, pick one of those up on the way to work, and the Doc’s miracle medicine cure suddenly doesn’t work any more, them bugs have mutated to have immunity.

And pick them up you certainly can – nasties like e.coli, MRSA and klebsiella pneumoniae. Swab tests found them lurking on hand rails, seats, doors and walls – fomites waiting for contact with human hands.

To be carried along to work with all the other hazards we’re exposed to – in the air and on the things we touch. Dust, exhaust fumes, chemicals like acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, toluene and ethyl alcohol, or substances like lead, cadmium and methylene chloride.

We can’t see them of course, they’re microscopically small. But they’re on our clothes and skin and hair. We breathe them in. Ready to transfer to all the things we touch when we get to work. And for when we breathe out. Dangerous germs, unwittingly brought in for our colleagues to catch and succumb to.

And they’re not the only ones. Things are happening in other parts of this sad old world of ours that are equally dangerous to our health.

At war with disease

Like second, war in the Middle East.

Decades of conflict that have devastated whole countries and health systems. And in their wake, epidemics of diseases not seen by doctors for more than half a century. Polio in Syria and cholera in Yemen.

Not our problem, we say to ourselves. Syria is 2,000 miles away, Yemen 3,600.

Except sadly, in this age of direct jet travel, local problems are world problems. Already, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced, pouring into Europe or wherever they can get to. And like us tube travellers or the bloke on the No 9 bus, bringing their germs with them.

For every polio victim, how many are carriers? How many are there with the disease incubating inside them as they thankfully emerge on our streets, looking to start a new life?

Meanwhile, in Yemen, cases of cholera have already topped 167,000 and the disease is currently killing one person an hour. How many Yemenis are in Britain, heaving a heavy sigh of relief?

And how many of either have – without meaning to, or even know they’re doing it – transferred their germs to you?

Not directly, but via the grab handle in the back of a taxi, or a rush-hour strap on the Victoria Line – swabbed the worst for germs in the whole London system. Well of course, the Victoria Line runs right through incoming refugee central – King’s Cross & St Pancras AND Victoria.

Unseen, unheard, unrecognised

Worries, yes, And bigger than we think too.

Because third, American reports indicate that antibiotic-resistant superbugs are not as closely tracked in hospitals as they should be. Infection-related deaths are uncounted, greatly hindering the fight against an increasingly global health challenge.

Hopefully, protocols are more strictly adhered to here. But with the NHS in a a state of permanent overload from challenges in all directions, it is likely the same dangers exist in UK too. You peg off with a superbug that your Doc couldn’t treat when you were admitted for something else, who’s going to know?

Which comes back to how safe are you at the office?

And the unpleasant truth, not very. A fact that stems largely from our own hype about standards of hygiene. We think we’re cool.

Reality is way different from what we imagine. For instance:

All of which puts terrific dependence on how well the office itself is cleaned if we want to stay safe.

And the answer is, not very. Not when office cleaning is usually a grudge purchase at the lowest rate. A quick vacuum and wipe-down is min protection against the 10 million germs to be found on the average office desk.

Which, together with the germs we brought in off the street, make the place a lot more dangerous than we confidently kid ourselves it is.

The cost of doing nothing

Once a luxury, it is fast becoming a necessity to do something specifically about office germs. And if bosses won’t do it for staff health, maybe they’ll do it for the sheer economics.

Or “germonomics” if they choose to get serious. The thousands and thousands of pounds that can be saved – just by removing germs that threaten productivity. Push-button technology already in place to make offices sterile, safe and secure.

So how dangerous is YOUR office – because, since it affects us all, this is one of those where you CAN believe all the things you read in the newspaper?

And the answer is very easy.

Does the button get pressed every night, or not?

How to recover 3 months extra productivity from every 12 months you pay

Businesswoman with germs
Even the best can’t deliver 100% when germs take them down

Unwell at work, unable to let go.

Job pressure, tight deadlines, refusing to let colleagues down.

Total professional, salt of the earth, reliable to the last.

But head pounding, guts churning – about as much use as a first-day rookie.

Sound familiar?

One of your star staff members. Or it could even be you. Walking wounded and total loose cannon.

Concentration all over the place, unable to focus – every decision costing big bucks.

Hanging in there, determined to ignore the flu or food poisoning or whatever it is they’ve struggled to work with. Nowhere near 100% productivity.

Less than best

But that’s what you pay for, isn’t it? 100% of the best and worth every penny.

Except for the off days, when things can – and do – go totally pear-shaped.

No, not the 6 days everybody’s entitled to, taking off sick at home. You’ve already budgeted for that – with Plan B all ready when key staffers go off grid.

But have you ever added up the days when you don’t feel up to it, but go to work anyway? It’s way more than you ever imagine. Nobody is ever 100% all of the time – or even close.

Most of us might get through three days in a row without some kind of twinge or niggle. Nothing serious – just enough to play havoc with our thinking. Number skills or memory recall, one or both somehow missing – or not quite there when we want them.

57.5 days a year we’re like that, according to a GCC report validated against the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Workplace Health and Productivity Questionnaire (HPQ).

That’s almost 3 working months. A whole quarter of a year’s worth of productivity gone for a loop. Not anybody’s fault, but an undeniable fact of life.

And a massive hole in your operating budget that you can’t even see. Up, down – staff productivity is what it is. We all assume 100%, but it seldom is. So the costs are absorbed without even thinking. Money paid out and never recovered.

Get back

OK, some of it, you can never get back.

About a third of unwell at work costs are musculoskeletal issues – injuries, cramps, arthritis, muscle pain, back complaints. Treatable yes, but not going to go away in a hurry – and probably not avoidable.

Another third are mental. Stress or emotional issues – at work, or outside. We all know how concentration falters with a loss in the family, or a relationship turns difficult.

But the remaining third you can do something about. The ones caused by germs.

Illness or infection – they can come from outside and pass around. But they’re just as likely to originate in the workplace. People working closely together, breathing the same air, sharing the same space, touching the same objects – it’s inevitable.

Sure the place gets cleaned regularly. But not all of it. Some items rarely get attention – and some not at all.

Horrible hygiene

For instance, how many people might use a touchscreen – and how often does it get cleaned? Once a week? Once a month? Or even ever?

Yet we all know germs transfer by contact. Things we use with our hands – keypads, doorknobs, light switches, documents. And our personal items too – keys, wallets, money, cosmetics. Never cleaned, are they? Yet they’re always around.

So are some sobering hygiene facts – we’re less wholesome than we like to think.

On top of which, germs linger easily in workplaces. They might get cleaned regularly, but how often are they disinfected? Which is how come an ordinary desk might harbour 10 million germs.

And how about the air we breathe?

Classy places might have HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters in the air conditioning. So that germs down to 3 microns in size are prevented from circulating.

But germs like rhinovirus – posh name for the common cold – are smaller. So small, they could fall through the pores of an unglazed plate – if they were heavy enough for gravity to affect them.

Since they’re not, they float around freely, riding the smallest eddies. MRSA, e.coli, salmonella, bacillus, enterococci, campylobacter, shigella and cholera are all undersize, waiting for the chance to infect us.

Not nice if we catch them. Big challenges to productivity.

Prevention better than cure

But totally avoidable if we eliminate them in the first place.

No germs at work, no chance to get sick. Those 57.5 days start looking a lot less.

Easy to do, too. Add getting rid of germs to your regular cleaning schedule. A step beyond a lick and promise to actually making the place safe.

All it takes is a frequent mist-up of hydrogen peroxide. Charged particles easily disperse through the air, spreading everywhere, positively snatching at bacteria, viruses and fungi, oxidising them to oblivion. No germs, anywhere – on any surface, or in the air. The place is sterile – safe and secure.

And now you start getting your own back. 100% productivity all of the time moves closer. The most positive step towards workplace wellness you could take. Way better than medical examinations, gym membership, feng shui décor or fresh fruit at reception.

Way better for your bank balance too. Because now you’re not paying for 12 months and only getting 9. Productivity is up and you haven’t spent a bean getting there. Germonomics in action.

Staff feel better too. More full of beans and energy. Ready to take on the world.

Which is what you’re REALLY paying them for, isn’t it?

Picture Copyright: chrisfromparis/ 123RF Stock Photo

Forget computer viruses, your real unwell-at-work cost is already a ransom

Germs in office
Virus alert – better call a doctor because IT can’t help

Computer viruses you can fix. You can even turn the things off and work on paper.

We’re not so lucky with the human price tag though.

Viruses can take us down – or destroy us completely.

Take norovirus, for example.

Highly contagious, extremely unpleasant – with gut-wrenching cramps, violent projectile vomiting and uncontrollable burning diarrhoea that put us out of action for 3 days or more.

Get complications, like dehydration – and we’re in hospital fighting for our lives.  Around 800 of us don’t actually make it.

Worse viruses than IT

But it’s not the being off work that costs. You’ve already budgeted for that – £522 per year according to the CIPD.

Much worse is the build-up and the aftermath. Staff members toughing it out to come to work feeling like death. Trying to work like that – and infecting colleagues without meaning to.

You pay for that too, though you don’t notice it. Highly professional people at half-power or less. Not really with it, making mistakes, missing out detail. Well just how much can you concentrate, when all you want to do is crawl away and die?

OK, so we’re over the norovirus in a few days – and a bit wobbly both sides.

But it’s not just norovirus. There’s rotavirus too – otherwise known as the common cold. And flu. And other kinds of tummy bug that FEEL as bad as norovirus – campylobacter, salmonella, e.coli, shigella, the list goes on for ever. And that’s not even looking at the dangerous ones.

Which means from the money angle, if it’s not one thing, it’s another. On average we’re unwell at work for 57.5 days a year. Almost three working months – at a cost of around £5,220 a year, reckoning on 10 times the cost of absenteeism.

Invisible costs

Invisible expenditure that, because you just absorb it. Your salaries are worked out for a twelve month period, assuming productivity at 100%.

In reality, though you don’t see it as an overhead, you only get nine months’ worth of value. The other 3 months  as we’ve seen, are staff dragging themselves through the motions. They’re doing their damnedest , but at nowhere near 100%. Plus you’ve got to factor in all the hiccups.

And that’s for ALL of us – not one or two!

Viruses make no distinction – neither do bacteria or fungi. A germ strike at work affects everybody from the chief exec down.

And Sod’s Law ensures it always happens at the least convenient moment. As the make-or-break contract approaches its deadline.  At the one critical moment when it’s all hands to the pump.

So let’s see, that’s £522 cost for being off sick – and £5,220 cost struggling through things at work. A grand total of £5,742 per staff member per year. Plus all the lost business from not performing at 100%. Doesn’t that sound like a ransom?

With a staff of just 10, that’s a cost over-run of more than £50,000. So OK, there’s always problems with servers and firewalls and stuff – but does your IT system plough through expensive unforeseens like that?

Alongside the human cost, that’s likely to be chickenfeed. But hey, they are your most valuable assets after all.

Germ defences, the nightly reboot

There is an upside though.

Like computers, you can switch off workplace germs just like that. And if there’s no germs, your staff can’t get sick, can they?

Oh, they’ll still bring in illnesses they’ve picked up outside. Like the 12 antibiotic-resistant superbugs they can pick up on the Underground. Or the 121 others they can catch on buses and taxis.

But step inside their workplace and they’re at germ zero.

The place is sterile thanks to a nightly mist-up of hydrogen peroxide that oxidises ALL bacteria, viruses and fungi to nothing. 99.9999% germ-free – to a 6-Log Sterility Assurance Level.

Yes, they might still have their bug. But there’s nowhere for it to dwell, less chance to transfer it, and it’s hiding place will be neutralised in the next nightly treatment. Not just quarantined, but totally blasted out of existence.

Like a firewall for human viruses (bacteria and fungi too) – only better.

Picture Copyright: kzenon / 123RF Stock Photo

Is it overkill to sterilise your workplace every day?

Doctor with company staff
Add up the cost of all the hours unwell at work –  it’s 10 times being off sick

Wha..? Sterilise the workplace? Do people actually do that? Overkill definitely.

For the health of your staff.

But there’s nothing wrong with the staff. They don’t get ill.

No?

Not at work anyway. Just one or two days off for colds and flu, nothing serious.

But they DO get colds?

Everybody has off days

Of course they do, who doesn’t? Not bad enough to take time off work, though.

How about tummy bugs? Cramps and feeling nauseous?

Yes, well – it happens. Everyone gets that. So what are they going to do, wimp around at home?

So your team are all toughies? They come to work, no matter what – unless it’s really bad?

Sure, they’re all dedicated professionals. A few days with a dodgy tummy – par for the course.

They get on with the job?

Like the champions they are – always at their desks, even at lunch time.

And their work quality is OK?

Of course, why not? The job is the job isn’t it?

The Boeing factor

Suppose one of them was a Boeing captain coming in to land, but with a crampy tummy – serious gut-ache – would that be OK?

But they’re NOT Boeing captains! Definitely overkill. Anyway, that’s what second officers are for.

Like if they’re feeling bad, somebody else steps in to take over?

Exactly, can’t afford to take chances.

So work quality can get a bit iffy?

Yes, but we can handle it.

Any idea, how much that might cost? Staff working unwell, struggling to keep up?

OK, so things slip a bit. Better than having them off sick.

What happens if the Boeing captain slips? Says he’s OK, but isn’t?

That wouldn’t happen.

But you have staff who say they’re OK, don’t you? Don’t worry, I’m fine, I can do this.

Of course, they’re all professionals.

I’m OK – yeah, right

But things could slip that cost money – mistakes, missing detail, muddled thinking?

Well, yes.

And irritable behaviour maybe – feeling low, so they bite someone’s head off?

Yes, that too.

Which could be a customer, or that VIP business contact you’ve been buttering up for months?

It’s possible.

So is it worth the risk?

Not really, no.

But you’re glad they haven’t stayed home?

OMG, yes. If people stayed home every time they felt off, we’d never get anything done.

Which underlines that being unwell at work costs 10 times staying off sick – without adding in all the hiccups, wrong plays and mistakes.

Alright, so it costs a few bob – what’s this got to do with sterilising?

Worth the risk?

Well the Boeing captain has gut ache and can’t concentrate – how about if the second officer has it too? They both ate the same flight meal, or the second officer caught it from the captain?

OK, it’s an emergency – again, what about the sterilising?

It’s a precaution, to reduce the risk. Like you never need it, until you need it. An insurance policy.

How does that work?

Take away problems before they start. Was the captain ill before he boarded, or did he catch it on the plane?

What’s the difference?

If the plane was sterilised to start, there’d be no germs for the captain to catch.

OK, so he caught it beforehand.

And because the plane is sterilised, there’s less chance of passing it on to the second officer. Or any of the cabin crew, or even the passengers.

They’d be protected.

A lot better than a whole plane-load coming in to Heathrow – and a last-second tummy cramp that twists like a sword in the captain’s gut and brings them down on the nose wheel.

Prevents accidents and costly mistakes. And this sterilising works, how?

The easy way is tagged onto regular cleaning. After the nightly vacuum and wipe-down. Mist the place up with hydrogen peroxide – next morning the place is sterile. No germs to catch, no illnesses to come down with.

Which can actually save money?

Which actually claws back money you’ve already paid out. Staff are unwell at work on average 57.5 days a year – three working months of performance below standard. You pay twelve months salary but you only get nine – until you get rid of the germs.

Cold, hard cash

A third of a year’s productivity – too good to be true.

You’re right. Because that’s not including musculoskeletal problems like backache or muscle pain. Or pressure from stress. But the feel-good is a real turn-on for motivation – and staff KNOW you’re looking after them.

Like hotels do with their sealed glasses and toilet in the bathroom – “sanitised for your protection.”

Sort of, except “sanitised” just means it’s clean. “Sterilised” means there’s no germs – you’re making the place safe for everyone.

Better than gym membership and fresh fruit – plus there’s money in it for the company too.

Basic germonomics, so is it overkill?

If everybody scores, no. Just good business. Another overhead cut down to size – better performance, higher competitiveness.

So what are you waiting for?

Picture Copyright: hedgehog / 123RF Stock Photo and leungchopan / 123RF Stock Photo

How to turn ill at work costs upside down – and sail into better profits

Exec floating in umbrella
Ill at work costs – when it rains, it pours. But you can float easy – at least you can get some of your own back

Never heard of ill at work costs?

That’s what you’re stumping up when your best sales champ has a blinding headache – and makes a hash of that latest deal with your top client.

Plus the salary portion of them sitting at their desk while they’re doing it, feeling like all hell. At 40 – 50% of their capability maybe, when you’re paying for a full 100%.

Just one instance out of many, right?

Because how many others wake up feeling like the end of the world, but come to work anyway – to make mayhem where they’re usually top notch? Ill at work in action.

More than you think – because it’s off the radar

A lot of money to lose. And a lot of money you’ve already paid out. At best for less-than-perfect performance – at worst for a full-on train smash.

How much money?

Grab your calculator and check this out.

According to a healthcare survey some years ago, we each of us experience 124 ailments of some kind every year. That’s one every 3 days. Incidents of ill health ranging from minor like a bruised elbow – to major, like an infection that puts us in hospital.

On average, we get the physical delights of regular headaches, 80 bouts of back pain, continuous bumps and bruises, 3 sore throats, 4 cases of heartburn, 4 cricked necks, 5 cuts, 5 cramps, 6 upset stomachs, 2 shaving cuts, 3 stubbed toes, 3 bitten tongues, 1 loss of voice, 1 electric shock, 3 paper cuts, 2 pulled muscles, 2 stitches, 1 nosebleed, 3 falls, 2 bouts of blisters, 2 earaches, 1 eye infection and 3 colds.

At the same time, we are likely to have some kind of infection challenge with asthma, influenza, bladder infections (UTI), bronchitis, conjunctivitis, respiratory infections, sinus infections, migraines, heartburn or gastric reflux, and gastric infections  leading to nausea, diarrhoea, and vomiting.

Most of these are borderline stay-at-home issues – particularly the physical ones. Too frequent and too minor to justify staying in bed, so we bring them to work and struggle on. These are your ill at work costs.

Spooky expenses

By now you’re probably looking at four and five figure numbers – the price of under-performance, mistakes and missed business. You haven’t even added in days off sick yet.

So to give you a better perspective, here’s a germonomics calculator to keep track of the spookier costs. We’ve left out the physical mishaps because they’re going to happen anyway – accidents from lack of attention, or just plain misfortune.

The infectious ones though, are something you CAN address. By ensuring that at least in the workplace, there’s less chance of catching anything or passing it on to others.

How?

By getting rid of workplace germs, so they can’t happen. Most easily by adding to your nightly tidy up and vacuum when everyone’s gone home.

No germs, no illnesses to catch, everybody functioning at 100% – no mistakes, no oversights, no glitches – ill at work costs are reduced, you get all the productivity you pay for.

Bye-bye germs, hello productivity

It’s easily done too. By your cleaning service or an independent. Or even doing it yourself.

One press of a button mists up the place with hydrogen peroxide, which oxidises all the germs – viruses, bacteria, mould, fungi, the works. Forty minutes later and it’s germ-free – 99.9999% of all pathogens gone, to a Log-6 Sterility Assurance Level.

OK, it’s not going to stop all the cuts and scrapes – but most people can live with those. But it WILL ease all the head stuff that infections can cause. Get back to clear thinking, being alert, staying on the ball.

All things that high-powered professional staff are good at – WHEN THEY’RE FEELING WELL.

Plus there’s the revved-up feeling of going for it. Being motivated, committed, wanting to achieve – what kind of a bonus can you put on that?

Ill at work costs? No big deal. Not any more, at any rate.

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Straight germonomics: forget absentee costs, staff unwell at work will cost you 10 times more

Broke business bloke
You can’t see germs that make staff unwell at work. You can’t see the costs they incur either – until you start paying for them

Staff off sick and in bed you can plan for. But unwell at work, with a screaming headache or twisting gut, they’re the ultimate loose cannons.

How’s their focus? Their attention to detail? Will they push the right buttons, or screw things up completely?

And how about their customer-facing skills?

Smiling selves, or horror-hounds from hell?

The real price of loyalty

Not the sharp professionals you thought you were paying for, hey?

But they’re at their desks – loyalty unquestioned.

Committed and going for it – but dragging you down with them. Because right now, the way they’re feeling, you’d be better off without them.

At least you can budget for them if they’re away. Six days off for most people (the CIPD average), temp cost or catch-up overtime – easy peasy.

Yeah? But how often do they play hero? Struggle in to work, insides like boiled knitting – but not bad enough to justify staying away?

57.5 days according to a GCC study validated by the World Health Organisation.  Almost three working months – and a whole 10 times more than you’re budgeting for sick costs.

And that’s only the beginning. How much extra are you paying for mistakes, oversights, forgotten follow-ups – or messed-up customer relations?

Nine months worth – or a year’s?

Get ready for a shock. Because on top of the fudges and hiccups, effectively you’re only getting nine months worth of work out of the professionals you hired specially.

But you’re paying for a full twelve.

Which means if you could wave a magic wand so they WEREN’T unwell at work – you’d gain yourself a whole third of a year’s productivity from each of them.

All for the same money.

Germonomics in action.

Achievable too.

Because being unwell at work is very often from germs picked up at work.

Large groups of people all working together – sharing the same space, the same air, using and touching the same facilities.

And not really protected at all, if you think about it.

Your cleaning crew come in every evening – and what do they do?

Vacuum around some, empty the waste bins, give the place a quick wipe-down. Nothing that actually gets rid of germs.

Yes, well OK – not in their remit, is it?

Lurking hazards – the downside risk

Meanwhile there’s germs there, all right. Plenty of them too. As scare headlines in the media keep reminding us. 10 million on every desk, for starters. More on the light switches, door handles, keypads and touch screens. You get the picture.

Plus the personal germ clouds that each of us carries around with us. Most of the time benign or harmless – but who knows what they might do to other people?

Plus the awkward fact that none of us are really that good about personal hygiene. If our hands don’t LOOK dirty, we reckon they’re clean. As if we could see a bunch of microbes so small that a billion could fit on the point of a pin!

Meanwhile

Duty of care

Yes, so?

Part of your duty of care is to keep staff secure. Out of the cold, away from damp, in non-hazardous surroundings. Safe from germs like legionella, which you are required by law to ensure.

Except legionella’s not the only one. There’s billions more germs than that, just waiting for the opportunity. And not just the usuals either – like colds and flu and tummy bugs.

Pretty well every one of us carries a few cells of MRSA and other nasties.

Plus with all kinds of other infection possibilities about, the simplest paper cut could cause sepsis. In just hours, a professional member of staff could be dead. On your watch.

Germ-free – the upside gain

Unless of course, you work the other side of germonomics – and turn potential health deficits into dividends.

By making hygiene a key factor in your nightly clean up – ensuring ALL germs are safely destroyed every evening after staff have gone home.

No viruses, no bacteria, no mould, no fungi – 99.9999% sterile.

All press-button easy – by misting up the place with ionised hydrogen peroxide on top of your regular cleaning routine.

Forty minutes is all it usually takes to oxidise germs to nothing. To remove the major cause of making people unwell at work and be sure they’re safe.

And to make your productivity a whole ONE-THIRD better than it is at the moment.

Not so tight for cash now, hey?

Now see how your staff perform when they’re well and motivated – and the feel-good factor kicks in.

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