Tag Archives: bacteria

Staff at risk: the invisible killer that could put you out of business

Blindfolded businesswoman
Blind to the risks – just because we can’t SEE germs doesn’t mean they’re not there

Invisible because it’s too small to see.

But at a tiny 2 microns long, it could be the biggest challenge your business ever faced.

Right, we’re talking bacteria. A single cell of legionella pneumophila in this case.

Not something we think about every day, but a daily threat that lurks in water systems – at home, at work, anywhere.

Wherever it might be possible to breathe in water droplets.

Why is it dangerous?

Because it leads to flu or pneumonia-like illness – legionnaire’s disease (legionella) – a serious lung infection that can make you very ill, or even kill you.

And it spreads very rapidly through big buildings like hotels, hospitals, museums and office blocks – particularly through air conditioning.

The threat we never know is there

Hear the alarm bells ringing?

You should.

Because by law, you are responsible for the health and safety of your staff. It’s your duty to protect them from the risks of legionella. Yes, the stuff is invisible – but that doesn’t mean it’s not there, waiting.

Even if you haven’t heard of it, you are accountable. And not knowing about the law is no excuse. You could be sued if somebody catches it – even tried for manslaughter if somebody dies.

Which should start you thinking about what you should do. Not just to be fully compliant. But to protect your staff as far as possible – they are after all, your biggest assets.

Because legionella is not the only invisible germ threat.

Billions and billions more

Living and working in enclosed spaces as we do, there are all kinds of other bacteria and viruses we’re exposed to daily as well. Just as invisible, just as dangerous. And your duty of care means you should be taking precautions against them as well.

Most of them, our immune systems can shrug off. And if we do catch a bug, it’s usually of the inconvenient or nuisance variety – colds, flu or a tummy upset.

Not serious, unless you look at the money they cost. All staff get expensive when they can’t function at 100%. Slaving at your desk, nobody is more committed. But how good are your maths reflexes when your head is pounding and you’re all bunged up?

Of greater concern are other heavyweight bugs we COULD get. Especially living in the jet age, when colleagues on business or holiday can bring back all kinds of illnesses at incubation stage – with no immediate sign that anything is wrong.

Breathed in or communicated on contact, they’re quick to spread though. Via high touch objects like light switches, door handles, keypads and touchscreens. Or simply on documents handed around.

Safety in our own hands

Handed – how most germs actually spread. And they’re invisible, remember?

We’re not very good at preventing them either. Because most of the time our hands don’t LOOK dirty, so we reckon we’re safe.

Meanwhile, the reality is that:

Which leaves us wide open to all kinds of dread diseases. MERS or bird flu from Asia. Yellow fever, cholera, malaria or Ebola from Africa. Zika from South America.

And all the other nasties from everywhere – hepatitis A and B, HIV/AIDS, measles, meningitis, TB or typhoid. Plus the more familiar miseries our sloppy hygiene can bring – norovirus, rotavirus, shigella and strep throat.

Ramp up the hygiene

OK, it’s YOUR duty of care to ensure your staff are safe. Not exactly easy when you have to protect them  from themselves.

You can’t FORCE them to wash their hands. But you can give them reminders – antiseptic gel on every desk, antibacterial wipes too. Positive but unobtrusive against invisible threats.

You can also shorten the odds. Eliminate ALL germs in the workplace after they go home in the evening.

For instance, get your cleaning company to give a good going over with hydrogen peroxide mist and you KNOW your staff are safe. 99.9999% of germs destroyed, you can breathe easy.

Sure, they’ll bring in loads more germs when they return in the morning. We all carry clouds of invisible germs with us, so that is inevitable.

How to stay in business

But with the workplace totally sterile first thing when they get started, there’s less chance for anybody to catch anything.

Worth doing to stay in business. And avoid a record of criminal negligence.

Which is what will happen if legionella pneumophila or any of these other invisible germs DOES strike.

You want to stay clean out of it.

Picture Copyright: bds / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2017-03-03 14:18:08.

How to fix the NHS – in 45 seconds flat

Girl showing stopwatch
If each of us took just 45 seconds with soap and water after everything we do, most NHS problems would simply go away

45 seconds is the time most people take to sing one verse of God Save the Queen twice.

Same length as the official version played at major events, like the FA Cup or international athletics meets.

It’s also the same time health experts recommend we should all take to wash our hands.

Not just a wiggle under the tap. Or just a rinse. The full Monty with soap and hot water – including between the fingers and backs of hands.

OK, big deal.

Soap and water to the rescue

So how does this rescue the NHS?

According to the latest media uproar, the system is drowning under the sheer number of patients. A&E departments swamped, operations backed up for months, not enough beds to care for people properly.

To spell it out more clearly – way too many patients.

Huh?

The NHS is a massive organisation with a budget this year of £107 billion, how can there be too many patients?

Because a lot of them SHOULDN’T BE THERE.

Our political train smash

Thanks to political machinating twelve years ago, most GPs don’t work weekends any more, so patients go to A&E instead of their local clinic. Except – surprise, surprise – the human body doesn’t take the weekend off, just like professional hospitals don’t.

Because when you’re sick, you’re sick. And you can’t wait around haemorrhaging all over the place because some politico bribed doctors for votes by letting them loose on the golf course.

Yeah, but politicians don’t sign up to the Hippocratic Oath – or any other code of conduct, it seems. For yonks doctors knew that their whole career was on call, day or night. They even made house calls.

Now, thanks to Westminster – none of whom are practicing doctors, last time anyone looked – you either call an ambulance, or you go to A&E. An organisational train smash.

And that’s not just weekends. It’s every day.

Because appointment times are so backed up, it takes a month to get to your GP anyway. Even then, there’s hours in reception, waiting to get your 5 minutes. Not exactly helpful with that headache killing you, or the pain in your chest that won’t go away.

Wash the whole problem away

So how does washing our hands help?

Think about it. Most everyday ailments are caused by infection of some kind. Tummy troubles, respiratory problems, allergies – viruses or bacteria at work to make you feel lousy.

And how do you catch them?

By swallowing them, or breathing them in, or sometimes by absorption through the skin. Nearly always introduced into your body by your hands – those things you do everything with – touch, feel, hold, grab, move, rub, scratch. Oh yes, and eat.

At the same time, we all know the importance of hygiene – that there are viruses and bacteria everywhere, waiting to do us down. But somehow washing our hands never seems to be on the radar.

We’re too OK, most of the time. Unaware that our hands become loaded with germs with everything we do. That they need constant “de-germing” to keep us safe. And that ordinary soap and water for 45 seconds will get rid of 99.9% of them.

Dishing the dirt – on ourselves

It’s more like we have a death wish. Because, believe it or not:

OK, so if 95% of us aren’t washing our hands properly, how many of us are falling ill from side-stepping 45 seconds of soap and water?

Probably at least half – maybe even a lot more.

But suppose we DID remember – and DID NOT fall ill as a result?

No need to go to the Doc at all, hey? No need to run to the NHS because the Doc’s not available. No crowds, no hours of waiting, no A&E staff stressed out from non-stop pressure. Problem sorted.

And all from 45 seconds of easy self hygiene.

Brexit from germs

A lot better than the politicians can do, because they’ll never get it right. Unless they can see votes coming out of soap and water, they won’t think about it anyway. They play best at down and dirty – and we’re all paying for it.

Wash our hands of them and our £107 billion NHS organisation suddenly becomes the amazing support mechanism it’s supposed to be. Brexit from germs.

Not bad for 45 seconds.

God Save the Queen.

Copyright: nomadsoul1 / 123RF Stock Photo and dolgachov/ 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2017-02-23 12:19:38.

Stop workplace germs – and buy a whole new NHS (twice over)

Twin doctors
Double value. More time, more beds, better treatment – make workplace germs go away and NHS problems go away too

Relax, stop worrying. We really can have a whole new NHS twice over – just by eliminating workplace germs.

Big numbers?

Sure.

Which just shows you how much money leaks away when germs get the upper hand.

Get ready for some jaw-dropping math.

According to the NHS’s own figures, planned expenditure for 2016/17 is £120.611bn.  On top of which is the current deficit – a whopping £2.45 billion.

Black hole, about to go away

Put the two together, and you get £123.061 billion.

Double it, and that comes to £246.122 billion.

OK, so putting the NHS to one side for a moment, how about this?

The fact that being sick off work costs British employers a monumental £29 billion, according to business experts PWC.

And even worse, that “presenteeism” – when people are unwell but come to work anyway – costs TEN TIMES that – a mind-boggling £290 billion.

More than double present NHS bankroll needs – with around £44 billion in change – about what British businesses pay in corporation tax.

Uh huh.

Reaching for the impossible

So what kind of magic wand would it take to disappear Britain’s combined off sick and unwell at work costs? Impossible, right?

Not exactly.

Sure, it’s not just germs that make people take off sick – or struggle through the working day. There’s musculoskeletal problems, like back pain and neck ache. Stress, depression and mental anguish. All medical, but not germ-related.

But around 85% of us agree that the major cause of working life grief is minor ailments. Colds, flu, tummy bugs, that sort of thing.

And 85% of £290 billion is..?

You guessed it, £246 billion. The cost of launching a whole new NHS twice over – all caused by germs.

Which says, stop the germs – and we stop £246 billion every year going down the plughole.

Basically impossible, right?

WRONG!

All hyped up, safe and secure

By misting up workplaces daily with ionised hydrogen peroxide after staff have gone home – all viruses and bacteria are eliminated, oxidised to nothing.

Next morning, when staff come in, the whole place is sterile. To a Log-6 Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% germs gone.

Yeah OK, people bring in fresh germs with them. On their skin and clothing, from whatever they might have wrong with them – and their own personal germ cloud.

But the germ threshold is zero at start the day, so any cross-contamination is minimised. Fewer germs to catch, less chance of feeling off colour – productivity nudges closer to 100%.

Press button easy

And the miracle machine that does all this?

It’s not a miracle at all, it’s a Hypersteriliser. A wheelie-bin sized automatic unit that ensures maximum dispersal of safe, low concentration, germ-killing hydrogen peroxide – the same stuff our own bodies produce to fight infection.

And it spreads across all surfaces and behind them, into all cracks and crevices, and throughout all airspace. Actively forced there by electrostatic charge.

Contact time for destroying germs is only seconds, though dispersal does take time, depending on room size. Forty minutes usually, and you’re done. The whole place is sterile.

Clawing money back from germs

Which neatly plugs productivity losses caused by absenteeism and presenteeism together. Effectively releasing one-third more work capability without extra cost.

The trick now of course is to persuade employers to donate all this money to the NHS.

They can certainly afford it.

And with sick leave absences down by 85%, the demands on the system will be so much less too. Shorter waiting times in A&E. More beds available. Adequate time for intricate surgery. Generous time for recovery under care.

So if a staff member does go down with something, they’ll be treated quicker and back sooner.  And that goes for all the other ailments too. The musculoskeletal jobbies and that lot. Because we’re all of us susceptible.

Including that heavyweight MD with the bad back that puts her out of action three days in ten. There’s a whole new NHS waiting ready to look after her. In fact, two for the price of one.

And hello, hello, the doctor WILL see her now.

Picture Copyright: citalliance / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2017-01-30 16:53:06.

Why aren’t we warned that antibiotics can make us fat?

Doc holding ABX
Not the lifesavers we think they are – they’re why we’re fat, and why we’re going to die in twenty years’ time

We get warned about other issues.

About antibiotic resistance, for instance.

That bacteria are rapidly becoming immune to our cure-all wonder drugs.

That soon doctors will not be able to treat even everyday infections. Superbugs will have won the day and medicine will return to the Dark Ages.

An antibiotic apocalypse

Yes, very true. And it’s right that we’re warned. An “antibiotic apocalypse” as Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England calls it. A threat on par with terrorism and climate change.

She’s not wrong. Except that alarm about antibiotics failure is the big stick medics are using to obtain funding to develop new ones.

Government money, that is. Drug companies won’t finance it themselves – there’s no money in it. Widespread resistance means new drugs must be used as little as possible. They’re kept for emergencies when the older drugs fail.

So the whole business of developing a new drug and bringing it to market as soon as possible no longer has legs. Bacteria can become resistant in as little as six months, and the whole investment is down the tubes.

So the idea is to push the scare tactic.

Shake the government tree for around £890 million of taxpayer’s money. An incentive for some developer to take a gamble on a new product with an unmet need. Basically a bribe.

Not going to happen, is it?

Too public, too obvious, and too fraught with failure.

The 240,000 tonne money maker

Besides, why should a drug company take risks on new products when they’re already making a fortune on the old ones?

No, no, not as medicines. As growth promoters in agriculture. Because since researchers first noticed it in the 1950s, antibiotics have become the most phenomenal growth boosters worldwide.

In the last twenty years particularly, antibiotics in animal feed have reached industrial levels. 240,000 tonnes currently and set to rise another 70% by 2030. Prompting the rise of the factory farm or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO). Vital support for rocketing world population, which itself has risen threefold to 7½ billion.

Yeah, so new drugs? Forget it. Ker-chunk, ker-chunk factories are working flat out all they can to keep pace with demand for the old ones. Sorry, no time for research, too busy making money. 240,000 tonnes worth of it.

And why weren’t we warned? Because it had nothing to do with us? Has nobody noticed we’re getting fatter?

Yes, they have. And they’re all keeping schtum about why.

Super-duper growth boosters

You see, twenty years is the same time scale in which our horrendous obesity epidemic has reared up. Today, two thirds of adults are either overweight or obese –  so are a third of our kids.

And all of that time we’ve been eating from food sources deliberately laced with antibiotics to boost growth. From egg to roasting chicken in six weeks. From new born calf to Aberdeen Angus steak in 14 months.

On top of which manure from the same animals is used to enrich soil and boost plant growth. So that everything we eat, animal or vegetable, contains residual antibiotics. Every mouthful we take includes traces of the most successful growth booster of all time.

We ourselves are all eating antibiotic fatteners!

Uh huh. So why aren’t we warned?

Why aren’t we told that the reason we’re fat is not junk food, or sugary drinks, or a low exercise lifestyle?

Not natural gluttons

In thousands of years, the human body has regulated itself according to conditions. Wasting away in famine, yes. But seldom ballooning out in times of plenty. And certainly never in an epidemic like we have now.

So why aren’t we warned that just like animals, antibiotics send our food demands into overdrive? That they make appetites insatiable? And that just like animals, antibiotics make our systems absorb too much? Extracting too much nutrition and making too little waste?

We’re not naturally gluttons. Not naturally addicted to high octane, quick energy food and drink – which is what we’re accused of.

But that is what we have become. Our gut bacteria twisted by antibiotics into never being satisfied and always being hungry. Always on the lookout for a quick hit for our induced addiction.

Because pigging out on lettuce leaves will just not crack it. We’re strictly on the mainline stuff. Burgers, chips, kebabs, pizza, ice cream, chocolate, cake – all the good Mary Berry things. And all the no-nos on Jamie Oliver’s list.

Fat and fatter, that’s us.

Yet never once are we warned, despite the evidence on food farms worldwide. Though doctors already know that antibiotic medicines at a young age frequently trigger obesity by four or five.

We get blamed, it’s our fault. And our indulgent lifestyle that’s pushing us further into obesity. To the long-term killer consequences of diabetes, asthma, cancer and heart disease.

Thought antibiotics were lifesavers? We should have been warned. Made aware of a health hazard, just like cigarettes. With big bold death notices on the front of every box.

They might rescue us today – from a chest infection or surviving a heart transplant – if the bacteria don’t become resistant first.

Dead, or dying

But twenty years down the line we get the bill. A bulbous hunk of blubber on intravenous drips and breathing oxygen. Going down for the last time because of something we never knew was happening to us.

We never were – and we aren’t now.

Why aren’t we warned?

Picture Copyright: khamidulin / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2017-01-25 15:14:15.

Medics are worried antibiotics don’t work – but if we stop using them, we’ll all starve

Glam surgeon
Antibiotics aren’t working, people are going to die. They make people fat too, which also makes them die. The same with the animals – and if they die, we’ll all starve. But at least we’ll all be thin.

Yes, starve. At least 5 billion of us, two-thirds of the world’s population.

That’s the price tag, if we stop using antibiotics.

Not just in health, but in food production.

Where 240,000 tonnes of antibiotics are fed to livestock every year. To the 19 billion chickens, 1.4 billion cattle, 1 billion pigs and 1 billion sheep that currently feed us.

Which in turn generate the fertile manure to produce wheat, rice and maize – mega-crops that deliver 50% of our plant food energy. As well as the sorghum, millet, potatoes, sweet potatoes, soybean and sugar that provide the next 25 percent.

Antibiotics in everything

Food for us, food for the livestock that feed us – and all laced through with residual antibiotics.

Why?

Because antibiotics are the most efficient agricultural growth boosters ever.

In the 1950s when antibiotics were first discovered, the world population was just 2½ billion. Today – supported by exactly the same land space since the planet hasn’t got any bigger – that figure currently tops 7½ billion.

Only possible by the phenomenal growth-enhancing side effects of antibiotics in animal feedstuffs. Wonder drug medicines for us – boom time jackpot for farmers. From egg to roasting chicken in six weeks. From new born calf to Aberdeen Angus steak in 14 months. Jackpot!

So why would we pull the plug on the miracle that feeds us all so effortlessly?

Because the bacteria-clobbering MEDICAL miracle of antibiotics is fast not working any more. Bacteria have become resistant to them and developed immunity to them. They have become ineffective – and our own chief Medical Officer for England, Dr Dame Sally Davies, says so.

Pan resistant bacteria

As if to emphasise that point, last week the exploding medical hand grenade was the 70-year-old American patient who died of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) – a bug resistant to ALL antibiotics. Pan resistant bacteria are now a reality.

Antibiotics that don’t fight germs? It’s the end of modern medicine. No more heart transplants or hip replacements. Nor births by caesarean section either. Or any one of the thousands of routine operations and treatments impossible without infection protection.

It’s the end of a lot more besides.

What about all those billions of cows and chickens – and the daily dose in their feedstuff?

To breed in numbers like that, they have to live on crowded and disease-prone factory farms. Antibiotics make them grow faster but also keep them well. Essential for survival in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)

So yes, farmers will keep shovelling antibiotics at them. With 7½ billion mouths to feed, they can’t afford not to. Antibiotics or starve.

Except that just like with us, antibiotics will start failing for them too. And when one animal dies, the rest will follow in quick succession. A bushfire epidemic ripping through a slum – exactly what a CAFO is.

No more miracles

Which puts us between a rock and a hard place. Antibiotics can’t save our lives any more – and can’t save us from starving either.

Oh, but ironically for maximum misery, antibiotics make us fat too, just like the cows. So we have the rewards of obesity to look forward to as well – diabetes, asthma, cancer heart disease. Not a happy future.

But just maybe, a pretty one. Because antibiotics are so heavily part of our diet through our food, two thirds of Brit adults are already overweight or obese – and so are a third of our kids. So at least if we starve, we won’t go out fat.

For as the glamorous Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor once said “you can’t be too rich or too thin”.

Pass the streptomycin.

Picture Copyright: beerkoff / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2017-01-24 17:23:41.

Now antibiotics aren’t working so good, we’ve all got to be germ dodgers

Executive karate kick
Dodge them or catch them – germs are always everywhere, ready to take you down

That’s right. Germ dodgers, not germ catchers – the kind of people we are now.

Don’t believe it?

OK, off the top of your head, when was the last time you washed your hands?

Be honest, because it’s not a trick question. It might come as a shock if you’re out and about, like most of us are.

Once we get into the day, we’re all wrapped up in what we’re doing. So washing hands isn’t even on the radar – unless of course, we need the loo.

Which means it’s actually possible – as you sit down to a night out in a restaurant – that you haven’t hit soap and water since you left home this morning. Like all of us, busy, busy, busy. Unless our hands don’t LOOK clean, we don’t even think about it.

False security

Sure, we know about germs and things, but we’re not really too worried. Life around us is clean and hygienic most of the time. Fresh, drinkable water. Efficient sewerage. Rubbish regularly taken away. Homes spotless and hoovered once a week. What’s the problem?

Because even if we do come down with some bug, our support system is pretty amazing. Either the chemist can fix us up, or our GP can. Or if it’s serious, there’s A&E. They’ll give us the medicine and we’ll be hunky dory. Antibiotics – boom, what nasty bug?

Yes well, don’t count on it being like that for too much longer.

Antibiotics are rapidly passing their sell-by date and use-by date. A lot of the time they’re past their ineffective-by date as well.

Bacteria are smart, see? With billions and billions of years’ practice at surviving whatever happens to them. A magic pill to bring them down? Sooner or later, they’ll find a way round it. Develop an immunity. Show off their antimicrobial resistance – AMR.

Bye-bye wonder drugs

Exactly the situation that’s crept up on our medical profession, while we don’t even worry a dickie-bird.

It worries the hell out them though, right to the edges of panic.

Because if antibiotics stop working, modern medicine just grinds to a halt. Big operations become impossible – even routine starts looking dodgy.

So that right now, today, it’s possible you could die from a paper cut. Without the medics being able to do a thing to save you.

And it’s already happening.

Last week with all the hoo-hah, you may have missed the news item snuck in under everything else.

About a woman in her 70s who died from carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) – a bug resistant to ALL antibiotics, including carbapenem and colistin, our two super-drugs of last resort.

“… a bad infection from such bacteria can kill you no matter how rich or famous you are, what apps you have on your phone or social media sites you frequent, what kind of walls you build, how many nuclear weapons you have…”

Which is why we’ve got to start being germ dodgers instead of catchers. Our carefree lifestyle won’t let us get away with it any more.

Sloppy hygiene can kill

Make that careLESS lifestyle – with very sloppy hygiene. Because if antibiotics can’t be around to save us, the facts are frightening:

Get the picture?

Hand hygiene is our first line of defence.

But we live in a world surrounded by germs, which is how our hands get contaminated in the first place. They don’t LOOK dirty – but unless we’ve just washed them, they’re crawling with viruses and bacteria. From door handles, light switches, touchscreens, keys, money – just about everything there is in our lives.

Dodge for our lives

Except we can dodge them too – at least in the enclosed spaces where we live most of the time. And with temperatures hovering around freezing these days, that’s seriously good news.

Yes, we still need to wash our hands – because we keep touching stuff.

But just like some bacteria can resist ALL antibiotics, ionised hydrogen peroxide can destroy ALL bacteria. And all viruses, and all fungi, and all parasites.

Sprayed as mist from a machine called a Hypersteriliser, it penetrates everywhere. Offices, restaurants, classrooms and consulting rooms – oxidising all germs to nothing.

Give it 40 minutes and the place is sterile. No germs to catch, no illness to come down with. Clever dodgers, us – nothing can touch us.

Except, yes it can – as soon as we go outside again, we pick up more germs. Which makes it like brushing your teeth, ideally it gets done daily.

Dodge germs most of the time though, and most of the time you’re safe. Like not going looking for trouble, because for sure we’ll find it.

Meanwhile it’s up to the doctors and experts to come up with alternative recovery medicine if ever we do get sick. Vaccines yes, or maybe phages.

Let’s wish them luck. Who wants to stay indoors when skies are blue and the sun comes out , nudging temperatures into the 30s? Roll on summer!

Picture Copyright: slplondon / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2017-01-23 16:35:06.

Workplace germs black hole: just one year of unwell-at-work costs is enough to bankroll Brexit

Brexit - include me out
Bye-bye £290 billion – which makes Brexit £40 billion less than being mugged by germs

Yes, Brexit will mean big bucks. £250 billion according to the Bank of England – already set aside before the referendum.

Make that £250 billion and some change.

Like another £40 billion. The same as we Brits blew last year going overseas on holiday.

That’s right, £290 billion – bigger than Brexit, bigger than the NHS budget. The staggering price tag of people being unwell at work in a year. TEN TIMES more than being booked of sick, which itself is £29 billion say business experts PWC.

Invisible germ tax

Enough to make you sick just thinking about it.

Yet most organisations don’t even know they’re paying it.

As long as people turn up for work, they reckon they’re getting value for money. It’s only a headache or the sniffles, nothing to worry about.

Except who are we kidding?

You know yourself how hard it is to function with a road drill pounding inside your brain. How good are your phone skills handling that? Or focusing on a spreadsheet with tiny figures? Be kinda nice to Brexit from that wouldn’t it?

But yeah, you’re committed, you came into work. You’re at your desk, going through the motions. Hard at it with the odd sneeze, spreading up through the air-con – scattering the floor around you with used tissues.

Which means it’s not just you, is it? Soon there’ll be five of you, exploding and dabbing your noses. None of you with heads that can think straight. But hey, you got here.

And just how efficient are you, working like that? Are you at 60%? 40%? Or should you really be home in bed but don’t want to admit it?

Ever wondered how often you feel like that? Actually, how EVERYBODY feels, because we’re all the same?

Three working months

Well hang onto your seats, because it’s 57.5 days. And that not just us saying that, that’s per a GCC report validated against the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Workplace Health and Productivity Questionnaire (HPQ).

And that’s on top of actual days off sick each of us also puts in for. Just over 6 a year say the CIPD, who run their Absence Management research every twelve months.

Uh huh.

6 days off sick. Plus nearly 60 days unwell at work.

Three working months.

Which explains where all the money goes, that £290 billion.

All of us get paid for 12 months work. But add up all our off days – and we only deliver 9.

We can’t do more because we’re disabled. Knocked out of commish by colds, flu, tummy bugs, allergies, you name it. Taken down by germs we can pick up anywhere, but most of all in the workplace.

Why? Because we’re all herded together – interacting, conferring, networking where we can all reach each other quickly. Exactly like passengers on a cruise ship, though we’re sailing the seas of business.

And you’ve read the headlines, they’re none of them good.

Hygiene hiatus

Like, how quickly does a bug like norovirus spread among tightly packed communal gatherings? How much does its violent cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea put people out of action? How difficult is it to clear up and stop it coming back again?

Alongside that, remember the other headlines. About the research that tells us our desks might harbour 10 million germs at any time.  About how our phones have more germs than a toilet seat.

Plus the other gruesome realities about how hygienic we think we are, but aren’t:

So, 60 days unwell at work every year? It’s a wonder it’s not more.

Which why it costs such a bomb – £290 billion. Or to see how it affects you personally, click here.

But nobody does anything about it, right? Or even recognises it’s a problem. Total defeatism. Mugged by germs and we just accept it. People have off days, what can you do? It’s a cost of doing business.

Productivity up a third

Rubbish! Reality is, our whole hygiene discipline is NUTS (Not Up To Standard).

But clobber workplace germs and people’s productivity goes up by a third – from nine months worth to twelve. No germs to make them ill, nothing to hold them back. Reclaiming rightful share of £290 billion.

And it’s so easy, you could cry.

Just press the button on a Hypersteriliser – a portable automatic machine that destroys germs in enclosed spaces.  ALL of them – viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites. Oxidises them to nothing in a fine mist that penetrates everywhere.  Safely applied after everybody goes home, sterile in the morning.

Sure, it’s expensive. So is a Mercedes Benz – precision machines always are. But for the equivalent productivity loss you’re already making on just one salary, it can make a major chunk of your unwell-at-work costs go away.

Like this IT company we know. A super-performance sweatshop with 15 high-powered techies locked in a room on a make-or-break deadline of the end of the month. One of them gets a bug, they all do – and the whole contract goes down the tubes. How do you put a price tag on that?

Make money, not lose it

No, you’re not bankrolling Brexit. But clobber workplace germs and you CAN start looking at staff bonuses. And if everybody starts being a third more productive, you can maybe think about opening in China, or Australia, or wherever else those contrariwise EU countries aren’t.

Worth a bob or two, isn’t it?

Picture Copyright: BDS / 123RF Stock Photo and gutzemberg / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2017-01-18 15:48:07.

Like it or not, workplace germs already cost you thousands

Horrified Exec Lady
Shock, horror – and you’re already paying for what all these germs do without knowing it

Yes, thousands. And thousands.

Not just in sick pay either.  That necessary staying at home from some bug picked up at the office.

According to CIPD figures, most of us are absent only 6 days off a year – just over a working week.

Not cheap at around £522 per person on average – though that’s in the private sector. Public sector absenteeism balloons closer to double at £835 – across the board costing the country a whacking £29 billion a year.

Presenteeism magabucks

Scary, but chickenfeed alongside the productivity loss of coming to work unwell.

Because according a GCC report validated against the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Workplace Health and Productivity Questionnaire (HPQ), people who come to work unwell trigger costs of 10 times more.

Yes, that includes all of us, dragging ourselves into work unwell over 57.5 days a year. Almost THREE WORKING MONTHS of going through the motions, being less than we are.  Sometimes even so low, a rookie could do our job better.

Which means we’re talking big number thousands. Because effectively everyone enjoys a full year’s salary, but only delivers nine months’ worth of full productivity. With staggering cost implications, as you can see on our calculator here.

Reclaim productivity

Makes it worth doing something about it, doesn’t it?

Because if everybody’s only able to deliver nine months worth of full power, that’s a whole THIRD of their combined salaries that could be pumped into EXTRA productivity. Clobber the cause – and it’s yours FREE.

So how do you fix unwellness at work? Stop it happening in the first place.

OK, you can’t stop all of it. But you can prevent a major chunk.

Obviously some illnesses are picked up outside. With billions of germs and billions of people out there, we inevitably get unlucky sometimes.

Long term conditions are exceptions too. Back problems, muscular difficulties and afflictions like IBS might never go away. It’s tough on those who suffer with them, but they’re mostly adept at living with them. But it kinda rewrites the rules on those who insist on coming to work sick.

Clobbering common illnesses

It’s the short term minor jobbies that are most common. Like the adenovirus that recently knocked out the Queen for three weeks. Difficult to focus on anything when you’re coughing yourself dizzy with fatigue.

That’s right, infections. Colds, flu, tummy bugs, we all know them. And we all persuade ourselves we can handle them when we know we can’t. So we lie to ourselves and come to work anyway. Not really capable, way underproductive, and spreading our germs around all our colleagues.

That is, our own germs on top of all those already there. Because when was the last time our workplaces were treated to prevent them, if ever? And how effective was it beyond wiping the place down with bleach and hoping for the best?

Meanwhile our own desks harbour millions of germs that never even get thought about. So do all the objects that all of us expose ourselves to – lift buttons, keypads, touchscreens, light switches, door handles. It’s a wonder we’re only under-par for three working months.

Getting our own back

Yet germs we CAN do something about. But not with conventional rubbing and scrubbing. First it’s expensive and time-consuming, doing everything by hand. Second, it doesn’t reach everywhere, so the germs can easily come back. Ask anyone who’s had norovirus on a cruise ship.

But germs are everywhere. We even carry our own personal germ clouds around with us – both protective and benign – and most of the time we’re immune to them.

OK, so take ourselves out of the equation and do the deed when the workplace is empty and we’re all safely home. Take down the germs after hours.

And because germs are everywhere, whatever we do needs to reach everywhere. All the surfaces, all the nooks and crannies, underneath and behind things – and through the air itself, which is 80% of any room space.

The hydrogen peroxide takedown

Only one way to do that – with an airborne mist that actively spreads everywhere, forcing itself to disperse outwards. And having reached everywhere, it has to be effective too – taking down viruses and bacteria in the minimum contact time. More efficient than the several minutes that bleach needs.

All easier than you think with a Hypersteriliser.

Press one button and its ionised hydrogen peroxide spreads everywhere. Forty minutes is all it takes. After which all germs are gone. 99.9999% destroyed, to a 6-log Sterility Assurance Level.

Next morning, the team comes in – and the place is safe, sterile, secure. No germs to catch because there aren’t any. Plus the feelgood of being healthy and knowing it. Positive vibes and endorophins kicking in to motivate everyone out of their everyday inertia.

Which is not just saving thousands, its making them. Thousands and thousands more than you’re making now. And good business sense.

Because you’re not going to a let a bunch of germs get away with it, are you?

Picture Copyright: BDS / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2017-01-16 15:10:30.

All germs neutralised, full productivity restored, fully insured, jackpot!

Feeling good and germ-free at work – super productivity starts here

No more unwell at work, you’ve hit the germ-free jackpot.

Open the door, get on the floor, everybody walk the dinosaur.

Amazing what happens when you’re full of beans and going for it. Buzzing with health, unstoppable, ten times the person you usually are. It’s workplace wellness in orbit and everyone’s aboard for the ride.

Unwell at work and horrible

Not always like that, is it?

Somebody comes in with some bug – next thing everybody’s all sore throat and pounding head, sagging at their desks and feeling like a train wreck. No jackpot here, unless you mean misery.

Gets to you, doesn’t it? And we’re all of us like this around 60 days a year on average. Here, but not here, a shadow of ourselves. Dying on the job but never giving up.

Real dozy work we do like that too.

Normally slick and professional, we’re blundering and slapdash. Making mistakes, vexing our colleagues, switching off customers. Productivity through the floorboards and costing money like you cannot believe. (Check calculator here)

Impossible – and insured!

Then joy of joys, management get the place done with some new-fangled Hypersteriliser jobbie. Mists everything up with hydrogen peroxide, rips all the germs to nothing, so they say. All viruses and bacteria gone, no bad boys for anyone to catch.

Yeah right, we’ve been here before. None of these things work. Bleach, steam, hydrogen peroxide, fairy dust – all mumbo-jumbo. Breathe any of that stuff and you’re a basket case.

Except this whole thing is insured. Genuine. Real Lloyds of London approved cover to protect all of us. Our workplace too. No cough-splutters, no creepy liquids eating up computer cables. Because those underwriter types never take a gamble. If this stuff didn’t work, they’d all be out of pocket.

So hey! Welcome to the Twenty-First Century Workplace. Germ-free, safe and sterile. Nobody gets ill, all of us are working 100%, productivity zooms and everybody’s laughing.

Sounds like jackpot to us. Win-win, de luxe.

Time to get tough

Too much of a dream? Hint, suggest, wheedle or strong-arm the boss and experience it for yourself. See how it feels to work germ-free and know you’re full-on healthy.

And tell the boss about the productivity savings. Make a point of it. Show her there’s thousands to be made that right now are being wasted.

If you really want this, then she must hit the jackpot too.

Good health!

Picture Copyright: moodboard / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2017-01-13 15:06:24.

Beat the 25% germ tax you’re already paying

Business team celebrating
No germs, no unwell at work, no productivity loss – all on full song, 100%

Never heard of germ tax? Not surprising.

It’s an invisible cost all businesses face without knowing.

25% of the salary value for every employee – from the boss right down to the tea boy.

You read that right. A quarter of everybody’s pay packet, blown on coping with germs.

Unwell at work costs a bomb

Actually, to be more accurate, it’s the cost of presenteeism. All those days of under-powered productivity. When staffers feel off colour with some bug or other, but force themselves to come to work anyway.

At their posts and doing their jobs. Or at least going through the motions. Not exactly easy when you’re feeling grim and concentrating is an effort.

Recognise the condition? We all know it. Not sick enough to stay home in bed, but a shadow of who we usually are. Lame ducks – and sometimes more liability than asset.

Because when your head is pounding or dizzy, keeping track of detail gets impossible. So does keeping your cool under pressure. Or responding at your best, talking to customers.

Which means errors happen. Things get missed or forgotten. Business opportunities slip, or fly out the door. Nobody’s fault, but inevitable when team members are not their 100% professional selves. Lots of money down the tubes.

All of us experience this. And more often than we might think.

Presenteeism price-tag

60 days a year, according to a study of nearly 2,000 employees validated against the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Workplace Health and Productivity.  TEN TIMES MORE than the average 6 days a year most of us take off sick.

Hmm, 60 days. Three working months. A lot of productivity to lose.  And yet every organisation does. Because we’re all human – and humans have ups and downs.

Which effectively means salaries get paid for a full year, but only deliver 9 months. 25% gets knocked off for ailments of some kind. The times when we struggle to get things done because germs prevent us from being fully capable. QUARTER OF A YEAR IN GERM TAX.

Not all germs, of course. Lots of us battle with non-infectious challenges as well. Back problems, muscle cramps, migraines, IBS. But germs are the major chunk.

And germs are the issue we can do something about.

Effective germ tax avoidance

Like take them down completely in our workplaces. Eliminate all viruses and bacteria. Oxidise them to nothing – on surfaces and in the air. Safe, secure and sterile.

Easy as pie with a Hypersteriliser. A nifty wheelie-bin sized automatic unit that mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide after everyone’s gone home for the night. Force-spread by electrostatic charge, the stuff disperses everywhere. Including deep into cracks and fissures where ordinary cleaning can’t.

Hydrogen peroxide: how it works

It takes about 40 minutes for the stuff to work in the average room. To find every germ cell and rip it apart, which is what oxidising does. Every germ cell down to 1 in a million that is. 99.9999% germ-free – a 6-log Sterility Assurance Level.

And with no germs around, there’s no chance for people to get ill. Not in the workplace at least. Though they can bring germs in with them from outside – because all of us trail around our own personal germ cloud.

But with a lower germ threshold, starting from zero every  morning, there’s less chance of germs circulating from one to another. Or being stirred up in the air-con.

All OK with HMRC too

No germs, no germ tax.

And productivity is restored to 100% – see our calculator here.

It’s the ultimate tax dodge – ahem, legal tax avoidance. And don’t worry, most salaries have already passed through HMRC, so you’re laughing.

Can you honestly afford not to cash in on it?

Picture Copyright: wavebreakmediamicro / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2017-01-11 14:28:59.