Tag Archives: CIPD

Productivity: how most British businesses are standing on the brake

Employee Health Protection
Not healthy – business spend a fortune on accelerating productivity, but peanuts on taking the brakes off

OK, so we’re lagging behind if you believe the Office for Budget Responsibility. Not keeping up, hanging onto our shekels, not investing in the future.

Doesn’t look like it with the new start-ups making the headlines. New ideas, new technology, the front-runners are showing the world.

Across the board though, there’s no doubt performance could be better. Bigger, more established businesses are not so quick to jump in the gaps – and too many cut corners with low income immigrant labour.

They might look like they’re trying to go places, but the fact is that pretty well all of them are standing on the brake. Holding back, without even knowing they’re doing it.

But as winter draws in and the days get colder, the evidence becomes more obvious.

The first sneeze, the first sore throat, the first coughing attack in the office. A team member gamely pushing themselves at their desk, determined not to give in to whatever bug it is – common cold, H3N2 Aussie flu virus, MERS, SARS, or any one of a billion possible illnesses.

No protection against germs

And that’s the clue – being unwell at work. Trying to keep going, but feeling like death warmed up – at what kind of capability level? 60% of their normal? 40%? 25%?

Under-powered performance and under-powered concentration. So the work load suffers and accuracy with it. Lots of good intentions, but unwell staff are unable to deliver their best – which means productivity can only take a dive.

And how long will it be before other team members start coughing too? Everyone sharing the same work space, breathing the same air, touching the same things – it’s going to happen isn’t it? What goes around, comes around – a setback is almost inevitable.

Which is what we mean by standing on the brake.

Because what do most businesses do about protecting staff from colds and flu – or anything else for that matter? A company flu jab, maybe – and that’s your lot.

And how about prevention?

It’s winter – so expectations  are high for norovirus,  the vomiting bug, to appear. What measures are taken against that?

Or legionnaire’s disease, a pneumonia-like killer that spreads through the air via the HVAC system? Neglect that one and it can cost millions in health and safety fines, as G4S Cash Solutions found out.

What about duty of care?

Also on top of the health risk, other hazards like mould and damp can trigger a £5K spot fine. Or as one charity found out, £12,000 in compensation and six months of expensive renovations.

That’s in addition to the 30 other notifiable diseases listed by Public Health England – along with 60 notifiable organisms that present a significant risk to human health. 90 illnesses any business is liable for if found negligent in duty of care.

All of which are expensive oversights to make. But a drop in the ocean compared to on-going unwell-at-work costs and the impact of under-performance on productivity.

Because unlike time off for sick leave, which for most people is just 6 days a year according to the CIPD – being unwell at work is likely to be 10 times that at 57.5 days a year, almost three working months.

Three working months of under-powered performance. And that’s for EVERY team member – from the lowliest apprentice to the top-ranking CEO – because we’re all human. No wonder productivity is less than it could be!

And the cause?

Germs holding us back

Sure, we’re exposed to germs all the time, so some of them may have come from outside.

Reality is though that we spend 90% of our time indoor, particularly in winter – and most of our waking hours are spent at work. So it’s no surprise our workplace is where we’re exposed the most.

On top of which, because we can’t see germs, we don’t imagine we’re at risk. We LOOK clean, therefore we are. But again in reality:

There’s another dimension too. Germs are so tiny, they’re airborne most of the time. And around 80% of any room space we work in is air.

We might clean our workplace thoroughly, scrub every surface within an inch of its life, but there’s no way to scrub the air. And in a study prepared for the Wall Street Journal, germs were found to spread from the front door handle to more than half the office in less than four hours.

Up in the air – and waiting

Uh huh, the air. We share it, we breathe it, we move through it – and all the time we’re immersed in germs, surrounded by them, constantly in contact.

Sometimes we fall victim, sometimes we’re lucky. We get something and throw it off quickly, or it has us seriously out of action for several days. We’re at constant hazard, yet how many businesses provide protection against it?

Surprisingly, nobody thinks about it, accepting getting unwell as a fact of life. Productivity with the brake on, even when money and technology are trying to accelerate it.

Yet releasing the brake is easy. Mist the place up with an effective biocide like ionised hydrogen peroxide, and ALL germs are eliminated in under an hour depending on room size. Throughout the air space, across all surfaces, and into all the nooks and crannies too.

Back to 100%

And with no germs to catch, there are no illnesses to fall victim to. Those three lost working months are restored, with team members able to perform at full capacity all the time – 33% more than they could previously.

33% better productivity.

The brake is well and truly off – there’s nothing to hold back from a rapidly brightening future.

Full throttle – look out world!

33% more productivity for less than £30 a day, easy-peasy

No germs exec
All that money you never knew you were losing – you’ve got it back with interest for under £30 a day

Amazing, but very possible. And for less than £30 a day.

About what you’d pay for your Mrs Mop cleaning service.

Probably less if you have a dozen or more staff – all those desks and floor space.

Which makes this a productivity health hack most other CEOs would kill for.

Especially if they knew how easy and inexpensive it was.

Broken and not on the radar

Well, who wouldn’t want 33% MORE productivity without paying an arm and a leg?

So simple the way it works too.

Just by getting rid of germs.

Not something that’s on your radar usually, is it? Or something that you think of doing.

A why fix it if it ain’t broke sort of thing.

But it IS broke.

And without pro-active prevention, the way it gets handled is re-active correction.

If it’s handled at all. Because nobody’s ill right now, so the usual thing is do nothing.

Which basically means if staff fall ill, that’s their problem.

You’re sympathetic of course, but you just accept it. And so do they.

Luck of the draw. Happens all the time, right? Some bug hits them, they go see the Doc, get put on meds, possibly need hospital. From your point of view, an HR asset out of action for a while.

Or heroically toughing it out and coming in to work anyway. Committed, loyal, one of your star performers.

But either way, costing a lot more than £30 a day.

What’s that?

Surely it doesn’t cost anything at all?

Losing hand over fist

Oh yes, it does. And it’s money you lose every time. Either in hard cash or in lost productivity.

For starters, if they’re absent, you’re losing around £87 a day – more than double the £30 a day we’re rabbiting on about.

That’s not our figure, it’s the CIPD’s (Chartered Institute of Personnel Development).

In their annual Absenteeism Management report they calculate that most team members take 6 days sick leave a year at an average cost of £522, or £87 a day. (For the public sector, it’s £835, or £92.77 a day over 9 days)

Not a consideration because you don’t pay sick leave? Better think again.

That’s what they cost in taking up the slack while they’re gone. Other team members on extra hours, delay penalties, temp staff – sometimes a lot more than £87.

Not a lot of money in the great scheme of things. No alarm bells, nothing to lose sleep over. So it winds up in whatever slush fund you’re running for eventualities – or more often, buried as petty cash.

But that’s not where it ends. Because unwell team members coming in to work (presenteeism) cost 10 times more – £5,220.

Why? Because being unwell at work occurs 10 times more than taking off sick – 57.5 days a year on average, almost 3 working months.

Not getting your money’s worth

And during that time your slick qualified professional is just a shadow of themselves, feeling grim as all hell and going through the motions. Chances are also high that if it’s anything contagious, other team members will go down with it too.

Which is way worse than an HR asset out of action. At least if a staffer is off sick, you can arrange a substitute. But unwell-at-work is more like a machine with an intermittent fault – unreliable because you can’t tell when – or if – it’s functioning properly or not.

And still – even though it’s costing money, you’re paying for 12 months’ productivity but only getting 9 – the usual procedure is to do nothing.

The team member plods on, swallowing tablets every few hours and unable to think straight – management nods admiringly at such selfless commitment – and neither takes any action.

Mistakes are made, costs incurred – and the only lead is external. By medical intervention AFTER the condition has asserted itself – not prevention BEFORE.

“Do nothing” doesn’t work

All that money – invisible because it’s already assigned as salary – is lost to the world as underperforming productivity.

Things take longer, get done wrong and have to be done again, or get missed out altogether. Not because the system needs upgrading, or new efficiencies need to be put in place – but because some poor unfortunate is not feeling well and unable to perform properly.

The stable door is bolted, the horse is long gone – with no attempt to avoid the situation in the first place.

Prevention is better than cure – yeah, right.

Except it is right.

And the whole system necessary to achieve effective prevention is already available off-the-shelf – at under £30 a day, lock, stock and barrel.

Prevention – for less than Mrs Mop

Like we say, the same or less than you’re already paying for Mrs Mop. And stacked up against £87 per day, per team member – no contest.

How does it work?

By misting up the place with germ-killing hydrogen peroxide. All germs are oxidised to nothing, there are no infections to catch – in around 40 minutes on average, your workplace is completely sterile.

And there you have it. A healthy team, fully functioning productivity, healthy profits.

Because instead of giving you only 9 months of effort, your team are now generating 12 months’ worth – a full 33% more.

Worth £30 a day don’t you think?

How all British businesses pay £319 billion a year for ghost staff

Accountant eyeing money
Better call Ghost Busters! £319 billion – on staff you never see and don’t even exist

Got to be fraud, right? £319bn a year for ghost staff?

Highway robbery for sure.

But hang on.

Believe it or not, your organisation is already paying it, just like everybody else.

More inescapable than taxes.

Invisible too. You won’t see it in your books.

Shock, horror

But you’re paying alright. And no, it’s not fraud.

Just the reality of productivity lost from staff being unwell.

We’re kidding, right? No way it can be that high.

Better sit down, this might come as a shock.

First off, business experts PwC put the cost of annual absenteeism at £29 billion a year.

That’s people off sick and out of action. Either with musculoskeletal problems – usually back and injury problems, or stress – emotional and mental issues, or infections caused by germs – anything from a heavy cold to full-blown life-threatening illnesses.

A lot of money. But the mind-boggling figure is the cost of presenteeism – calculated in a GCC report (now Virgin Pulse) at 10 times the cost of absenteeism – a monumental £290 billion.

To put that in perspective, that’s the cost of team members coming in to work unwell. Workaholics who can’t stay away, heroes not wanting to let colleagues down, people worried about job security, or any one of a thousand different reasons.

Loose cannons

Thing is though, they might be at their desks, but what quality of work are they capable of?

We’ve all been there. How easy is to focus when your head is pounding or you keep running to the loo? You know you should be in bed, but you stagger in anyway, often doing yourself and the business more harm than good.

It gets worse.

According to the CIPD, most absentees are away for 6 days – at an average cost of £522 per team member.

But presenteeism for staff unwell at work averages out at 57.5 days per team member – almost 3 working months, at a cost of £5,220.

Actually, it’s usually more than that. Way more – easily running into thousands.

Because people unwell at work make mistakes, miss deadlines because they can’t concentrate, get ratty with customers and colleagues at the risk of losing sales, and generally fumble around like rookies, far from the slick professionals you originally hired.

Keep in mind too, that feeling off at work is seldom in continuous stretches. More likely in sporadic bursts – a day here, 2 days there, intermittent throughout the year. On average working out to some kind of “off-colour” experience every 3 days.

Ghosts in the machine

Put absenteeism and presenteeism together and you get the £319 billion we were jumping up and down about earlier. So where do we come with our mumbo-jumbo about ghost staff?

Look at it this way.

Your whole team were hired on 12 month salaries, but presenteeism cuts their productivity down to 9 months effectively. You read that right. You’re paying for 12 months, but you’re only getting 9. For every member of your team, yourself included, that’s 3 dead months you’re bankrolling.

Which means for every 3 team members working 9 months, there’s the equivalent of a 4th that you’re paying for over the same 9 months. Only this person doesn’t exist – not on the payroll, not anywhere. Not doing any work either.

OK, so working off the CIPD’s figures, if one person costs you £5,220 over 3 months, in the 9 months that they actually DO work, you’re stumping up £15,660. That’s how much productivity your money buys – on 20 days a working month, that’s 180 days worth in a year, not the 240 you actually thought you were getting.

Uh, huh. So THREE team members working 9 months is £46,980 – that’s the productivity you’re getting. But you’re actually paying for TWELVE months, which is £62,640, you sign the cheques yourself.

The other £15,660 goes to your not-so-friendly ghost . Productivity lost – all written off in your salaries account.

Well what else can you call it? A cost of doing business? Do us a favour!

Exorcising ghosts

If you knew up front you were only getting 9 months worth of productivity for every 12 you paid for, you wouldn’t have done the deal, would you? After all, you weren’t born yesterday. And what kind of a business person repeatedly closes deals for ONE THIRD more than they need to be?

Yet that’s what ALL businesses pay.

Because ask yourself, how many British businesses have plans to PREVENT staff becoming unwell?

Oh, there’s plenty with health promotion programmes and keep fit classes. With stop smoking and lose weight packages too.

But few if any to actually STOP PEOPLE GETTING SICK. To push hygiene as best practice, eliminate germs or protect staff from hazardous exposure.

Sure, well you can’t see germs – they’re out of sight, out of mind.

So it never crops up on the radar that your team could be at risk in an ordinary work environment on an ordinary working day. Which is how come the figures for being unwell at work are as horrendous as they are.

Productivity risks

What sort of insurance company would give you cover if they realised that:

Or that in most business work environments:.

Which suggests that the average workplace is in reality a serious health disaster waiting to happen. Trying to get cover would be basically fraud.

But even fraud never gets this calamitous. According to the CIPD, quoting the University of Portsmouth’s Centre for Counter Fraud Studies, the annual cost of fraud in the UK is £193 billion per year.

Stack that up against the £319 billion in lost productivity through unnecessary illness – and it’s more than 1½ times as much again.

Unnecessary losses

Unnecessary?

You’d better believe it.

Which sort of suggests something about duty of care and prevailing business acumen, doesn’t it?

Except don’t beat yourself up about it. We’re all of us unaware of these issues – A) because we can’t see germs and B) because the cost is invisible anyway, all wrapped up and paid for in everybody’s salary package.

Yet for only a few hundred a month – probably less than you’re already paying for nightly cleaning – it’s possible to eliminate ALL germs completely.

Well at least as completely as 99.9999% – just 1 microorganism in a million. No viruses, no bacteria, no fungi – to a 6-Log Sterility Assurance Level. As sterile or better than most hospital operating theatres.

How’s it done?

Get rid of the germs, get rid of the ghosts

As simply as misting the place up with germ-killing hydrogen peroxide after everybody’s gone home.

The stuff reaches everywhere, grabs germs and oxidises them to nothing – 40 minutes and everything is sterile. No germs to catch, no illnesses to suffer, no productivity to lose, you’re back in the money.

Not completely of course, there’s still the downside of musculoskeletal problems and stress to account for. Though if you’re a hot manager and show real care for your team, most of any stress issues can be minimised to niggles, so you’re still ahead of the game.

Especially since you don’t believe in ghosts – or ghost staff for that matter.

The shocking ransom you’re already paying for staff common colds

Ransom in a briefcase
Held to ransom by staff unwell at work – a cost you don’t see, but you’re already paying for it.

Don’t believe it’s a ransom?

Better get out your calculator.

The average adult comes down with four colds a year.

Not the kind of thing to need staying in bed for, so they come to work sniffle-snuffle, trying to ignore it.

And typically they’ll sit with that cold for seven days – and often a lot longer.

OK, so that’s 28 days a year – being at work, nursing a cold. Tissues all over the desk, exploding into sneezes every five minutes – going through the motions, trying to get some work done.

Hold that thought, going through the motions.  Not easy when they’re not feeling well, headache pounding, perhaps running a fever, barely able to speak with hoarse voice and constant coughing.

Iffy under-powered work levels

And what’s the quality of the work they’re capable of, feeling like that? 50% of normal? Less?

How good is their commitment to push hard, their attention to detail, their ability to relate to others without being ratty or irritable?

If they were off sick, they’d be costing you around £87 a day on average – from the CIPD’s annual survey into absence management.

28 days at £87 a day – more than the national minimum wage – that’s £2,436. A good month’s salary for some.

Almost a month-and-a-half in working days too.

But they’re not off sick, they’re at work. And remember, ALL staff members get colds. So that for every 12 months salary you pay, only 10½ are at full power.

The rest are bleary-eyed going through the motions at 50% strength or less, which is why being unwell at work costs 10 times more than staying at home sick.

Now you see why we say it’s a ransom. Because effectively, that £2,346 becomes £23,460 – and that’s for every staff member! There’s big money here, leaking away in thousands.

The unseen liability – on contact

Not that you’d notice, you’re paying the salaries anyway and getting a cold is no big deal. It’s par for the course. The penny never drops that you’re down in productivity and your poor staffer is costing you.

Opportunities get missed, jobs take longer to do or need to be done again, service levels slip – simply because it’s so difficult to focus and apply one’s all.

It gets worse.

Because other staff members are going to come down with it too.

No, not because of the sneezes and breathing over everyone – though that can happen.

Because of all the things the sufferer touches that other staffers touch too. Door handles, light switches, lift buttons, keypads, touch screens, documents – and the start button on the photocopier.

Yep, most transmission is via the hands – and then touching the sensitive areas around the eyes and mouth. Washing hands pretty well stops it, except for several horrific and very yucky truths:

Which means it’s not just a common cold that staff are at risk of – it’s other downers too. Other respiratory problems like MERS, SARS or legionella (a disease notifiable by law). Tummy upsets from salmonella, campylobacter, norovirus and e.coli.

Colds take them down for 28 days a year. Other bugs hit them almost the same. That’s THREE WORKING MONTHS out of every year – you’re bankrolling germs to become millionnaires!

Sidestep the ransom

All that money – ALREADY going down the drain. All those staffers, suffering in YOUR workplace – and what are you doing about it?

No, we’re not blaming you. Being unwell at work is so normal, most of us never even think about it. Or the shocking amounts of money that disappear without trace. Like we said, a ransom. And it’s an invisible overhead. The cost of doing business with germs.

Take out the germs though, and you can grab that ransom back. Eliminate all viruses and bacteria, all fungi and mould, every day from your workplace.

With zero germ threshold, there ARE  no bugs for anyone to catch. Not on surfaces, not in the air, not anywhere. They’ve all been oxidised to nothing with hydrogen peroxide – a neat trick your cleaning service can easily add to the daily routine they’re already offering.

Time to start winning

Right – now your premises are safe, secure – and sterile.

Staffers will still come in unwell of course, you can’t stop them picking up bugs elsewhere. And parents with kids are exposed to colds far more than the rest of us. 12 times a year on average – from the other 350-odd kids at school.

But at least you know you’re protecting staff as well as you can. Protecting your cash resources as well, maximising your talent, strengthening your bottom line in a way you never thought of before. By avoiding a ransom you should never  have to pay.

Oh yes – and if anybody still comes in with a cold, trying to be a hero, send them home.

It’ll cost you 10 times less than letting them stay at work, so you’re still ahead.

Picture Copyright: hedgehog / 123RF Stock Photo

Productivity boost: our £290 billon antidote for presenteeism

Chasing profits
£290 billion – the cost to UK of being unwell at work. Make that go away and you’re chasing big bucks

It’s ours, and it’s right in front of us. A whole £290 billion worth.

Unwell at work costs out the door. Everybody up and going flat out. About as efficient as it’s ever going to get. Every penny of everyone’s salary working for you.

Not actually the end of presenteeism – that dicey compulsion to be at work instead of staying sick in bed. More like a sidestep – an effective way to avoid it.

Germ avoidance – Workplace Hygiene 101

Antidote, yes.

Because you can’t be unwell at work if you don’t get sick in the first place.

Yeah, right. So where does the £290 billion come in? If that’s the kind of money we’re saving, how come every business in the country isn’t bankrupt already?

Because all the time, they’re absorbing that cost. The invisible overhead disguised as part of salary appropriations. Like absentee costs but worse – the sick costs which business experts PwC calculate at £29 million a year.

The CIPD spell it out further – reckoning on a median cost for absence due to sickness of £522 per employee over 6 days per year – depending on the activity sector. Basically £87 per staff member per  day.

Ah, but absenteeism is a small fraction.

Unwell at work – the biggest money drain

The real overhead is in presenteeism – paying out for all those days that staff underperform by coming to work unwell. Ten times more according to a GCC study validated by the World Health Organization. A staggering 57.5 days a year – almost three working months.

OK, so ten times £29 billion is £290 billion – the cost to the nation of all those days struggling through the work day at half-power. The all-up sickness cost is even more if you add absenteeism – £319 billion. But with this kind of saving to make, who’s counting?

So now we have your attention with these megabuck figures, what’s the big breakthrough solution?

Like we said, avoidance. Protecting staff from becoming ill in the first place. An antidote.

Up front we have to say that nothing can be done outside business. People will pick up bugs wherever their lives take them and there’s not a lot we can do about it out there.

Indoor health protection

It’s a different story at work. Because it’s indoors, the whole environment is enclosed. A double-edged sword if you think about it. Staff all share the same space, breathe the same air. If any one of them goes down with something – they all can.

But you don’t let them.

Every night when the cleaning crew come in, you add a new element to the schedule.

Sterilising.

On top of cleaning desks, emptying bins and vacuuming, the whole place is rendered germ-free. Viruses, bacteria, mould and fungi eliminated by oxidising with hydrogen peroxide.

Next morning, when staff come in, the workplace is safe and sterile. No germs to catch or pass around. No chance to fall ill. Part of your duty of care – like making sure they’re warm and dry, with proper ventilation, and light to work by.

Required by law

Part of your legal commitment too, if you consider legionnaire’s disease – just one bacteria out of billions, but a potentially lethal one. As an employer, you are responsible for protecting staff from this nasty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 – which makes you liable should any of them fall ill.

You can relax though. As a bacteria, airborne legionnaire’s disease is destroyed just as thoroughly as all others. To a 6-Log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of all germs obliterated. The antidote in action.

Your staff might still fall ill – but not at work. With the germ threshold reduced to zero every night, there’s not much chance to. Nor will they sit there battling with ailments =- aches and pains and tummy cramps and stuff. They’re back to being 100%, pretty well all of the time.

Laughing all the way…

57.5 days of under-powered output that will save you – almost three working months. Which if we’ve done our sums right restores a third more productivity out of nowhere, all on the same salary.

Not bad for an antidote, hey?

Now what will you do with your share of £290 billion?

Picture Copyright: alphaspirit / 123RF Stock Photo

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

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

Sussed the REAL cost of staff unwell at work yet?

Woman seething steam
You’re paying 12 months’ salary, you’re getting 9 months’ value – the rest gets siphoned away by workplace germs

Sure, sure, Frank’s head feels like boiled knitting, but he’s there at his desk. Unwell as all hell but committed and going for it. A good, reliable trouper.

Also unfortunately, doing more harm than good. More liability than asset.

Because how can anyone focus with a head like boiled knitting? Be alert and watchful, ready for advantage? Or sharp as a razor, alive to the possibilities of somebody pulling a fast one?

And how about detail? Remembering procedure? Recording every step so there’s no comebacks? Good, reliable and watching your back?

Productivity down the drain

Not likely to be happening is it? Which could actually cost a lot of money. Especially if mistakes are involved – big ones as well as small ones. Or opportunities are not followed up. None of which would happen if he booked off sick. Send him home!

Which would make it one of the six days a year that EVERY staff member books off absent,  according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Not the full story about being unwell at work though, hey?

Including yourself, there’s loads more – affecting every one of your team. Ignoring that cold because there’s work piling up. Living with those stomach cramps. Grinding teeth against the pounding head, determined not to give up.

Yes, but not performing at 100% either. Sometimes more like 40%.

The HR people call it “presenteeism” – people who drag themselves into work feeling like death. Worried about work load, or imposing on colleagues, or even job security.

Which accounts for 10 times more than absenteeism says a GCC report approved by the WHO.

Nearly 60 days, the equivalent of THREE WORKING MONTHS. 66 days if you include the 6 days off as well.

Losing out on full value

So effectively every salary in the place is only for nine months out of twelve. Nine months at full productivity and top performance. Three months of iffy, erratic going through the motions.

All of which means remove the CAUSE of workplace unwell-ness, and you increase productivity by a third. Not for just one staff member, but ALL of them. The equivalent of one third extra trained and motivated staff. All FREE, because everybody’s salary is a full 12 months, not 9 – already paid for.

And the major cause of unwell-ness?

Catching a germ. Coming down with some bug that makes people feel lousy without forcing them into their beds. Not taking time off to make it get better. Spreading it around so everyone else catches it too. Suddenly snowballing the presenteeism cost from one person to many.

So what is the real presenteeism cost?

For an average salary of around £22,000, you can reckon on over £6,000 per staff member per year. Or if you want to be more accurate, here’s a calculator to work out your own figures.

Restoring the balance

Plus of course, you need to add in make-good for all the mistakes, omissions and fumbled passes that team members might make while they’re feeling off colour. Which in a worst case scenario could easily wind up at over £32,000 for a single staff member.

Fortunately, most of this is fixable. You CAN claim an extra third productivity at no extra cost.

By being a top level workplace guardian and eliminating germs in the workplace. And believe us, there’s plenty germs there. When news is slack, newspapers bring us reports like this several times a year.

OK, there’s still going to be people with bad backs, or battling with depression, or living with pregnancies. Lots of people have underlying conditions they just have to live with.

But even they can benefit from having no germs around. Take away the minor ailments and people feel good. Like endorphins kicking in after a gym session – without the cost of gym membership.

Press the button

And easy peasy too, just by pressing a button.

The one on a machine called a Hypersteriliser – a portable, fully automatic gadget that mists up the place after everyone’s gone home. Whoosh, all viruses and bacteria are oxidised to nothing. Forty minutes later, the whole place is sterile.

First thing in the morning, people clock in to a germ-free workplace. No germs, no unwell-ness, 100% productivity.

You’re the workplace guardian, you’ve protected their health – Priority One before all the other feel-good things you’ve put in place.

Now how healthy would that look on your balance sheet?

This post takes inspiration from a report on workplace guardians that appeared in Facilities Management Journal. Well done, gals and guys. Looks like we’re all about to save a lot of money.

Picture Copyright: sifotography / 123RF Stock Photo

Germs at work make even superstars incompetent

Stressed-out executive
Unwell at work – when even the most brilliant staffers can lose the plot

Incompetent. Incapable. Dodgy, like loose cannons.

That’s what staff are like when they’re not feeling well. Yet still they keep dragging themselves into work.

Blundering through the day. Making mistakes. Fumbling through jobs that will have to be done again.

Losing business and irritable with it. Costing money, though driven by the best of motives. More liability than asset.

All from some bug they picked up from their desk, or stirred around by the air-con.  Sneezed up by somebody else, who should be home in bed.

Or lurking on the touchscreen in the conference room.

The cost of presenteeism

Whatever it is – according to a presenteeism article in health and safety magazine EHS Today – it drains away 57.5 days of work capability per staff member every year. Almost 3 working MONTHS.

And that’s on top of the regular 6 days sick leave calculated by the CIPD in their annual Absence Management report.

A whopping 63.5 days of non-productivity that all organisations pay for. A whole third more working days of talent and capability than they’re getting right now. Wasted resources that could be turned into cash.

£££ going nowhere

How much cash?

Here’s a calculator to give you perspective – based on the two sources above.  If you were ever wondering how to achieve better efficiency – and substantial extra revenue without extra effort – your own figures could shock you.

And it doesn’t stop there.

Not at their best through no fault of their own – unwell, incompetent staffers cause strain among colleagues as well. The stress of covering errors and taking up the slack triggering a whole domino effect of faltering productivity across a further 40% of staff.

Serious money. And a serious problem that never occurs to anyone. Unseen and unrecognised – yet an accepted cost of doing business. Yeah, so people get ill, what can you do?

On the button

Actually, just press a button and the problem goes away.

The button on a Hypersteriliser machine that mists up the workplace with ionised hydrogen peroxide when staff are gone home. Oxidising ALL viruses and bacteria to oblivion so the whole place is sterile.

Hydrogen Peroxide

With no germs around, people can’t get ill. And a whole chunk of revenue you never saw before is suddenly dumped in your lap. Your bonus for getting rid of germs.

It won’t fix all ailments of course.

Some people have long term non-contagious conditions. And inevitable work stress brings other challenges. Depression and lack of confidence have dimmed many stars. Plus unavoidably, there are injuries and accidents.

Germs bad for business

But germs are the major chunk and just keep happening. Because though you might be able to protect your best assets at work, you can’t watch over them in the big wide world. They will go out there and catch a bug – too many unhygienic places and people.

Next thing, they’re at their desks. In the office, but totally out of it – doolally but incompetent . Present, but not correct.

Send them home, then press the button again. Get rid of their germs.

You don’t want to lose all that money, now you’ve just started to recover it.

With special thanks to EHS Today  and the CIPD.

Picture Copyright: BDS / 123RF Stock Photo

Wellness rebates keep yielding thousands, are you getting yours yet?

Exec in chair
Sitting pretty, free from germs – with all that money in the bank

Never heard of wellness rebates?

That’s the money a business gets back when staff are NOT  sick.

Not actual cash payments, but money in the bank. That big bulge, right there on your bottom line

Five grand per staff member per year, maybe even more.

Crazy not to claim it too – because all businesses can.

Easy peasy, just by pressing a button.

All those years of paying money for staff to be ill – not actually gone, but substantially reduced. Expenses most of us never even think about, usually just accepted as a cost of doing business.

Invisible costs cut to size

All staff get ill at some time, right? It’s a fact of life.

And when that happens, you keep paying for them – even though they’re not doing any work. Their desks are empty, their job is not done – while they’re at home in bed, feeling miserable.

£522 a year that’s costing you, according to the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development). 6 days at £87 a day. That’s the median annual absence cost per employee in the private sector for 2016. It’s even more in the public sector – £835.

OK, so what do you do? Pull in temp staff to cover the gap, right? Without replacements there’s going to be holes. Which straight away doubles the sick cost to you – from £522 to £1,044.

You can see where this is going, can’t you?

Avoid staff going off sick, and you can save £1,044 per employee, per year.

15 staff  members passing a tummy bug around? That’s 15 times £1,044, right there. A grand total of £15,660 you’re out of pocket – paying for nothing, while staff stay home to get better.

But that’s not all.

The “presenteeism” problem

You know yourself there are times when you feel like death, but you HAVE to go to work anyway. Too much stuff to get done, or deadlines approaching. Or maybe you feel you’d better show your face – because if you don’t, there might not be a job to come back to.

OK, so you’re at work, head pounding or guts churning, but you’re going for it. Not exactly at 100%, are you? Taking longer to do stuff, not always noticing things, forgetting others, grumpy and difficult with everyone who tries to talk to you.

Uh huh. Your own experience tells you the truth of it.

You might be at your desk, but you’re under-performing. Which is how most of us are, 25% of the time. Grappling with asthma, backache, or twinges of IBS. Around 60 days a year that we’re not up to our best. What the HR people call “presenteeism” costs.

Which is TEN TIMES the days we booked off sick. And TEN TIMES the cost too – at £5,220.

Which, together with the cost of temp staff hauled in to cover – absenteeism plus presenteeism – comes to £6,264. Money you’re ALREADY PAYING OUT for one staff member per year.

And 15 staff members, because you’re all in the same office together? Do the math. That’s a whacking £93,960 – one heck of a bill to pay for basically nothing.

Getting your own back

OK, so what can you do about it? Plugging a leak like that could finance all kinds of things. Shouldn’t you be able to get some of that back?

Yes, there is. Which is what we mean by a wellness rebate. Recovering costs that are otherwise going down the drain.

Obviously you can’t recover all of it. Long term conditions like depression, COPD, or recurring migraines don’t go away – and accidents can make anybody under-powered.

But all of us are susceptible to germs – and all of us come down with some bug or other – usually when we least expect it.

That’s OK, as long as we isolate ourselves. Stay home and get better, without infecting anyone.

The trouble with germs is, they often incubate before we know they’re there. We can be carrying flu days before the first sneeze – or norovirus hours before the first violent upchuck.

Whoops, atchoo!

Meanwhile we’re contagious.

Everything we touch, everyone we talk to, can pick up whatever viruses or bacteria we have. Next thing, everyone is down with it. Bad news running a business that depends on human assets at full power all the time.

Which is where pressing the button comes in.

It’s the start button on a Hypersteriliser – a machine that destroys germs in enclosed workplaces by oxidising them with ionised hydrogen peroxide.

When staff go home, it mists up the entire place, reaching all surfaces and air spaces – even remote corners. Oxygen atoms clamp on to germs and rip them apart. In 40 minutes the whole place is sterile – to a Log 6 Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% elimination.

No viruses, no bacteria, no germs to make anyone sick. Everyone stays at 100% performance. And you’ve just saved yourself a massive chunk of £6,264 – or £93,960 if there’s 15 of you together in the office.

Not had a wellness rebate yet? Get on to your cleaning company and make waves. Or get a Hypersteriliser of your own.

At the rate you’re saving, it’ll pay for itself within weeks. Your staff will be bouncing around, full of the joys of spring. And you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.

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