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 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.
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