Tag Archives: germonomics

Would you risk your whole company for a few days of sick leave?

Worried Manager
It’s not having no staff you have to worry about, it’s having no company at all

Sick leave is sick leave, right?

People taking chances, skiving days off. Like, unless they’re in hospital, it’s all stitch up, yeah?

Productivity down the tubes because somebody has a sore toe.

Not an issue, except for staff discipline.

Show them you’re soft and they’ll take you for everything. All it needs is a little tightening up.

As if.

Beyond sick leave

Yes, sick leave is an issue. But small in the great scheme of things. A blip alongside the multi-million pound deals where the real action is.

Small, huh?

Try microscopic.

The size that germs are when they take you down. You, or any of your staff – we’re all human. When infection strikes, we’re all of us out of commission – real pain, real fever, real life threat if it gets out of hand.

Which is why sick leave.

Time out to get better. Quarantine to avoid taking other staff down too.

Side issue, yes – except it’s human assets that are at hazard. Productive only when the body is working well. Dodgy, dead risky, or downright dangerous when not 100%.

Yes, so somebody slopes off a day extra after a cold or flu. A small price against having the whole office out with the same thing. No hands when they’re most needed, so things start looking iffy.

“Nice take on this!” – Washington Post

Or riskier still, how about they DON’T take time off? Or not all the time they’re supposed to. So they’re working at half power, unwell at work, dragging everybody down with them. Screwing up left, right and centre because their minds are wet putty.

Paying that never stops

Costa Brava con job? Get ready for Costa Plenty.

Like how about the airline captain who lifts off for a long-haul flight with tummy cramps? £500 million worth of Airbus A380, 360 passengers – and lawyers lined up to infinity and beyond if anything goes wrong.

And if the worst happens, who’s going to fly with that airline ever again? What happens to their licence?  Is there any way back from such negative PR?

Can’t happen in your business?

Hey, when sick leave issues go pear-shaped, nobody is immune.

Like Mex-food restaurant chain, Chipotle. Staff recalled from sick leave early – still contagious. 133 customers down with food poisoning, share price drops 12%. And this on top off previous health incidents – only a bumpy ride back.

You see, sick leave itself is easy. Expensive, yes – business gurus PwC put yearly UK sick leave costs at £29 billion.

The hard part is the knock-ons. An average ten times normal sick leave cost for regular Tom, Dick and Harriets who struggle back to their desks as martyrs – an eye-watering £290 billion.

Damage control

And then there’s the damage control. What do those sick staff do when they’re not functioning and out of their heads, basically sitting there trying to stay alive? What can they cost with their mistakes and falling around? Double their salary? Triple? Check out the hairy possible Germonomics.

The mind boggles.

All of which says, don’t catch a cold. Treat sick leave seriously. Over-indulge if you have to. A few extra days off is chicken-feed alongside crashing the whole company.

Besides, what better motivation can you have for staff? You show you care and you’re thinking about them. Your ace in the hole. They might not volunteer the extra mile – but they’re sure to be OK with giving it, if you ask.

Which means profits are safe, staff are safe, everybody’s happy.

Can’t do better than that.

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What’s the worst about mould – staff off sick, your own asthma, or the straight up £5K fine?

Office mould problem
Workplace mould – asthma, respiratory problems and one big expensive headache

Disaster, isn’t it? You never had asthma before, now you’re permanently gasping for breath.

Your staff aren’t much better. Most of them off half the time. The rest struggling with headaches, colds, flu.

Or whatever else feels like a heart attack, just climbing the office step ladder.

That horrible mould problem again. Those black marks on the wall last winter? 20 times worse now with summer humidity – and everybody’s paying for it.

£5,000 fines – and worse

Including you, now Health & Safety have got to hear about it.

Toxic black mould – you’re in for it now. At least a £5K arbitrary fine – possibly more if any staff have a condition that’s got worse, COPD or the like.

Sure, you were busy – but staff well-being has to come first. That’s the law.

It’s also your duty of care. And even if the building landlord won’t play ball, YOU’RE the one who should report it to Health & Safety, or your local council’s environmental health department.

Forget that, and it’s a £5K fine or worse.

Like the £12K compensation paid out recently for a claim of occupational asthma after 5 MONTHS of ignoring the problem.

Fix it, or else

And it’s not going away until you fix it.

OK, so it’s probably structural. Damp in the walls or something. Landlord’s problem.

But it could equally be YOUR FAULT.

Not enough ventilation. Or the reverse – running air conditioners all the time and the things leak moisture.

Which puts you in a JAM situation – Just Add Money.

Weeks or months of builders thumping through the place while everyone’s trying to work. Or shelling out for temporary prem while they get the place sorted.

And the costs keep racking up.

Because you’re liable at all times for staff safety. And as long as you keep exposing them to hazardous germs, you could get the book thrown at you – specifically the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002.

You keep LOSING money too – the downside of “germonomics”. Productivity goes through the floorboards – staff are listless, under-performing, a long way from the extra mile they always used to go for you.

But there IS a quick-fix.

It won’t solve the problem long term, but it will stop toxic black mould dead in its tracks – and any other harmful germs floating around too.

The 80% – 80% phenomenon

And we mean floating. Because in the enclosed environments we spend more than 80% of our time in, 80% of the space we move around in is air. Home to dust, pollution, tiny bits of human detritus –billions of viruses and bacteria – and billions of airborne mould spores.

Get rid of them – and you get rid of the mould problem, at least temporarily.

For 24 hours, definitely – maybe even up to a week.

But they won’t go for good until that leaky roof, busted pipe, missing damp course or unventilated cavity wall gets fixed.

All it takes is to mist the place up with ionised hydrogen peroxide after everyone’s gone home. In around 40 minutes for the average room, it permeates everywhere – including through the air – oxidising ALL germs to nothing.

You can tell it’s worked because that toxic mould is no longer black. It’s pale grey and lifeless, safe to brush off and sweep away. And there’s no smell either. Your staff are safe in sterile surroundings. To a 6-log Sterility Assurance Level.

And since you’re being proactive in looking after their safety, you might just stave off the £5K penalty. You’ve done your bit, so the liability is the landlord’s.

Now all you have to do is work on that asthma.

How about two weeks in the sun? The staff too – they’ll probably earn it with their mojo back.

Then you’ll all be ready to reach for the stars.

Picture Copyright: skdesign / 123RF Stock Photo

How germs at the office just got more dangerous

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

Dangerous? Germs at the office?  Poppycock!

A dose of flu maybe – kid’s stuff.

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

Except there ARE germs in the office.

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

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

Nasties in the Underground

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

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

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

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

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

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

At war with disease

Like second, war in the Middle East.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unseen, unheard, unrecognised

Worries, yes, And bigger than we think too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The cost of doing nothing

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

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

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

And the answer is very easy.

Does the button get pressed every night, or not?

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

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

Never heard of ill at work costs?

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

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

Just one instance out of many, right?

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

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

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

How much money?

Grab your calculator and check this out.

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

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

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

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

Spooky expenses

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

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

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

How?

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

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

Bye-bye germs, hello productivity

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture Copyright: carlosyudica / 123RF Stock Photo

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

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

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

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

And how about their customer-facing skills?

Smiling selves, or horror-hounds from hell?

The real price of loyalty

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

But they’re at their desks – loyalty unquestioned.

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

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

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

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

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

Nine months worth – or a year’s?

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

But you’re paying for a full twelve.

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

All for the same money.

Germonomics in action.

Achievable too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lurking hazards – the downside risk

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

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

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

Meanwhile

Duty of care

Yes, so?

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

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

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

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

Germ-free – the upside gain

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not so tight for cash now, hey?

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

Picture Copyright: luislouro / 123RF Stock Photo

Norovirus germonomics: avoid the massive costs of repeat deep cleans

School closed
Harsh germonomics: deep clean £12,000, second deep clean £12,000, steam clean £10,000 – where will it end?

It’s a financial nightmare. A school or public building shut down by norovirus. Seldom, if ever budgeted. Expensive because it keeps coming back. A hard lesson in germonomics.

Keeps coming back?

Time and again, that’s the curse of it.

All the costs of a shut down, staff and parents up in arms. The deep clean team going in. Scrubbing the whole place from top to bottom. Thankfully re-opening. And the first child vomiting and moaning within half a day.

Hard germonomics

Makes us learn the hard way, norovirus does. Totally unforgiving – ready to boomerang again and again if we let it.

Because of the way it works.

Projectile vomiting that spreads everywhere – far beyond any accident points. Microscopic globules riding the air, reaching into the darkest corners.

The same with its diarrhoea – violent and explosive, dispersing to places we don’t want to know. Unreachable, un-get-at-able – which means un-cleanable. So that any clear up, however professional, doesn’t really stand a chance.

Sure the bleach is strong and potent. Corrosive too and unpleasant to use. So strong it has to be diluted to use – less effective, under-powered, not really performing.

10 – 20 minutes contact time it needs, according to the US Occupational Safety & Health Administration. Plus if it’s a steam clean – 60 seconds exposure at above 100⁰C.

Impossible, right?

Put bleach on something for 10 minutes, it will shrivel to nothing.  And a minute’s applied heat above boiling point? Near destruction if that kind of exposure were even possible.

Lots of rub and scrub – and none of it reaches into the cracks and crevices that norovirus deliberately causes us our bodies to explode itself into to ensure it survives.

Not good enough

Result? Deep clean job done, but the place is still contaminated. $15,000 it cost this school in southern California – £12,000 in real money.

And what kind of school can afford that?

Especially if it has to be done again. And another steam clean on top of it?

Which makes it, what – £30,000? £40,000?

Exactly the kind of cost this school on the Isle of Man are facing from their pre-Easter outbreak.

And exactly the kind of cost we face here from this potent illness that so easily breaks out – possibly FROM A SINGLE CHILD NOT WASHING THEIR HANDS.

A never event, right?

It’s not going to happen – because it hasn’t happened yet. But we’ll know all about it when it does.

Preventable

Except it’s all largely preventable – even avoidable all together with the right preparation.

Because what kills norovirus better than bleach?

Hydrogen peroxide – the same stuff our own bodies make to fight infections.  Disinfectant, teeth whitener and beauty secret of blondes. Two minutes contact time with that stuff and norovirus is extinct. Germonomics in action.

Not just ordinary hydrogen peroxide either. But boosted with silver – another known natural germ-fighter – and ionised into a spray, so it’s an electrically charged mist.

All charged the same, the ionised particles actively push to escape each other – forcibly driving themselves in all directions. Lighter than air, they fill all room space, pushing hard against surfaces and deep into cracks – exactly where the norovirus cells are hiding.

No chance of survival

Like a magnet, that same charge grabs at oppositely-charged norovirus cells, clamping to them in a death-hold. Allowing 40 minutes dispersal time for the average room and the whole place is sterile – no germs of any kind, anywhere.

No norovirus, no colds or flu virus – no TB, no pneumonia, no diphtheria, no poliomyelitis – nothing.

No bacteria, no mould or fungus either. Sterile means sterile – all organisms dead.

And all achievable with an all-automatic machine that costs just a few hundred pounds to operate.

Even less that that too – if it’s not putting down emergencies.

Just a few pounds a day on top of regular cleaning schedules and the daily germ threshold is reduced to zero. Every morning, when the children arrive, there’s no germs anywhere.

No panics to pay for. No re-dos. No hidden costs or unexpected surprises – the plus side of germonomics.

Yes OK, norovirus hasn’t happened yet. Maybe it won’t.

Some other school perhaps. Somewhere else. At least once a month, maybe more.

But not here. Not now – it’s basic germonomics

We just can’t afford it.

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