Better health, better productivity, better profits – and you’re still dragging heels over daily germ protection?

Thinking exec
Decisions, decisions – not hard when you think of the money getting rid of germs can make

Going to wait till a headache and scratchy throat slow your own productivity?

Or dump the whole idea because you’ve never done it before, so why start now?

Besides, since you’ve already actioned generous sick pay, what do germs have to do with it?

Let’s go back to your headache.

Like, how’s your business brain functioning with all that pounding? Difficult to concentrate when your mind’s like boiled knitting – but the job’s time-sensitive, so you’ve got to decide now.

Uh huh. And how good is the quality of that decision? How good is the quality of anything if you’re unwell at work? You’re not yourself, your reflexes are shot, you’re loose cannon more than asset. How long before you do some real damage?

Unwell at work costs money

Extreme thinking maybe, but you can see it happening.

Unwell at work is way more hazardous than booking off sick – and happens ten times more often. 57.5 days a year on average – and that’s per staff member. Nearly THREE WORKING MONTHS.

You’re paying twelve month salaries – but against 57.5 days of unwell at work, staff can only deliver nine. The rest of the time they’re at their desks,  battling to go through the motions. 50% productivity or less – how much business sense is that?

OK, maybe their illness came from outside, but why take chances?

Sitting there, they’re going to spread it around – coughs, sneezes, or simply handling the same documents. Pretty soon the whole place will come down with the same thing. A couple of the weaker ones off sick maybe, but most of them heroes, soldiering on.

Inevitable really, with professionally revved-up people working close together, sharing the same office space, breathing the same air. All concentrated nicely where germs can find the most victims and spread most effectively.

But at what cost in mistakes, lost business, slipped quality standards or missed deadlines?

Invisible losses – all unnecessary

All of which you’re paying for – so heroes they might be, they might as well not be there. At a cost of ten times your absenteeism allowance, however generous. Plus money down the tubes from unwanted screw-ups.

And all largely preventable – just by getting rid of the germs.

All of them in your workplace – viruses, bacteria, fungi, mould, the lot – 99.9999% of them, oxidised to nothing.  Gone completely – from all surfaces, the walls, the floor, the ceiling – the air itself.

Taken out everywhere by omni-dispersing hydrogen peroxide mist – the same stuff our own bodies produce to fight infection.

Sure, there’ll still be staff who bring in their own. Bugs picked up from dropping the kids at school, collywobbles from touching the grab handles on the tube.

But in their place of work, when they come in every morning, the whole place is sterile. A germ-free zero threshold where they’re safe and secure.

Safe from the minor illnesses that slow them down and impair their judgement.

And safe from more serious bugs, like SARS or legionnaire’s disease – both notifiable diseases and your legal duty to protect them against.  With heavy fines or even prison awaiting if you don’t.

Feel-good dividend

Plus there’s the upside.

With no germs to slow them down, staff can now turn in a full year’s productivity instead of nine months – up by a third at no extra cost to you, it’s already part of their pay packets.

On top of which is the feel-good factor – the tidal wave of get-up-and-go that happens when close colleagues all vibe well together – healthy, positive and wanting to achieve.

A few hundred quid on your regular cleaning bill – and you’ve not just rescued productivity, you’ve shot it into orbit. In efficiency alone you’re ahead of the game – and how good is that going to look on your balance sheet?

So – germ protection, yeah? Keeping your staff healthy. Your legal duty and serious business sense.

Are you going to sit around thinking some more, or grab yourself some profits?

Picture Copyright: lighthunter / 123RF Stock Photo

Who is liable if your office chair breaks? And how about if you get flu?

Questioning girl in chair
Yes, it’s your employer’s responsibility to help you keep healthy and well

Dodgy place the office can be. Your squeaky-wheel chair. Paper cuts. Stabbing yourself with the stapler.

Plenty of misadventure and only yourself to blame.

But how about if the ceiling falls in? You get trapped in the lift? Or your office chair breaks?

How about if it’s major and you get hurt? Have to go to hospital? Or even take time off?

Most employers are pretty sympathetic.

It wasn’t your fault. They’ve got insurance. The landlord has pots of money and it’s all fixed PDQ – no questions, no worries. Everything turns out hunky.

Duty of care

OK, none of these things happen very often – but most bosses accept that if they do, then it’s their responsibility. Part of their duty of care.

Your workplace welfare is their concern, it’s their job to look after you. And Numero Uno on their list of obligations is ensuring a safe work environment.

Some of them take it further and invest in a workplace wellness programme – actively looking to support and promote employee health, safety and wellbeing.

Hold that thought, health.

When you’re out of action, you’re off the grid. Your job doesn’t get done, there is a hole in the fabric at work. It can lose money, it can lose customers. It can lose goodwill and momentum.

Not so bad if you’re off for a few days from the wrench to your ankle when your chair gave way. Your boss is embarrassed and hoping you won’t sue.

Not your fault

But how about being off with the flu?

Not quite the same, is it? Not exactly your fault, but not quite so sympathetic about it either. Silly you, taking chances out in the rain. Yes, so you caught it from somebody on the tube – but you should be more careful.

And then the flu turns out to be MERS – Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. More like pneumonia than flu and people can die from it. And your colleague on the desk next to you just came back from Bahrain.

Company trip or personal, it doesn’t matter. Nobody knew she had it – still in incubation or possibly she is a carrier, catches a mild version and is none the worse for wear.

But not you, you’ve got the lot – fever, coughing AND the diarrhoea. Just from sitting there, doing your job.

Not fair and not right.

Though not even knowing about it, your employer has failed to protect you. Maybe others in your team will also come down with it. Your workplace welfare is compromised and your employer is derelict in duty of care

Derelict?

Care and protection

Oh yes. There’s a whole team of you working together in the same space, normal office bullpen. None of you is the same and probably most of you have some kind of underlying condition – weak chest, heart murmur, IBS, or prone to migraines.

These weaknesses make you vulnerable. If some bug goes around – flu, norovirus, whatever – you’re more likely to get hit. And more likely to get complications.

You need protection FROM EACH OTHER – and as a regular workplace hazard encountered in every business, your employer should provide it.

It’s already necessary too.

One of the highest health hazards of all, ordinary office desks are regularly infested with 10 million of more germs. Escapees from the nightly cleaning crew wipe-down, or long-term lurkers on keyboards, phones, documents, etc – or in the dusty bunnies and detritus behind display screens and control consoles, inaccessible in coils of cabling.

Uh huh. But not the employer’s nightmare it might seem to be.

The premises get cleaned out nightly, right? Vacuumed, wiped down, trash emptied. It might LOOK clean, but the germs are still there – along with others swirling in the air, brought in on the personal auras of you and your colleagues.

Believe it or not, each of us trails a cloud of microscopic bacteria, viruses and body debris – as personal to each of us as a fingerprint or retina scan.

Easy peasy answer

OK, so get rid of the germs too. No germs, no illnesses, no infections. Nobody off work, everybody happy. That massive chunk of absenteeism expense is deleted from the balance sheet.

Unbelievably easy too – with almost no effort.

After everyone’s gone home, a Hypersteriliser gets wheeled in – a kind of dinky, wheelie-bin-sized anti-germ console. Hit the button and the place gets misted up with an ultra-fine super-dry mist of non-toxic, ionised hydrogen peroxide – the same natural germ-killer our own bodies make for ourselves.

The mist is electrostatically charged, which does two things.

First, every single particle tries to get away from itself, like magnets with the same polarity, pushing each other away. This forces the mist to power-disperse in all directions – hard up against all surfaces, walls and ceilings, deep into cracks and crevices, and clutching hard at every single coil of wire.

Second, the negative charge of the peroxide is actively attracted to the positive charge of bacteria and viruses. It vigorously reaches out and grabs at them as it spreads – again like a magnet, snatching at them like iron filings – out of nowhere, out of everywhere – clinging to them and oxidising them to nothing.

Forty minutes later, they’re all gone – the whole place is completely sterile. No MERS, no nothing to threaten anybody. Everybody safe.

Now go tell your boss.

If she knew it was that easy, she’d fall off HER chair.

Picture Copyright: cherezoff / 123RF Stock Photo

Productivity: why you’re not getting your money’s worth (Part 2)

Assertive woman boss
Getting your money’s worth means showing you’re a human being too

Hot on the heels of our previous blog, here’s another stab at why you’re not getting your money’s worth in the productivity stakes.

So far we’ve looked at absenteeism and presenteeism, both major productivity issues that chomp through as much as 25% of your all-up salary bill.

It’s not money you see on any balance sheet because it’s already committed. You pay full-whack 12-month salaries, end of story.

Though you’re only getting 9 months’  worth of value.

Thanks to germs taking the edge off performance, even super-stars wind up delivering more like beginners.

A big ouch that you don’t feel because you’ve already paid the money. And if all your hot-shot top performers are visibly at their desks, it’s kind of unthinkable that they wouldn’t ever perform at less than their full capabilities.

Wellness programmes – go-faster stripes

All you know is, it costs an arm and a leg to get things done. Efficiency is not what it should be, so you start looking at ways to jump-start it.

So sure, you look at performance. Not because it’s under-powered from health issues, but because you want to boost it and make it more than it is.

Instead of putting the brakes on to STOP illnesses, you’re pedal to the metal trying to ACCELERATE your talent into going faster.

Which is where wellness programmes come it.

You care for your team, right?

So a wellness programme is your way of showing it.

Like promoting fitness and healthy living.

Which has you looking at sponsored gym membership, sessions with dieticians, even medical advice on living healthy.

In other words, dangling a big carrot.

You want the team to go the extra mile, here’s a bribe.

Double-edged

A double-edged sword, this.

Yes, staff might feel more motivated and inspired to do more.

But hang on, more?

Is that over and above what they’re doing already, or compensating for not reaching objectives already in place?

Sure, gym membership is a nice-to-have,  but it’s not essential for business, is it?

Fit in body, fit in mind is a principle that does work. But if you’re looking for extra, doesn’t that point to a system inadequacy that it’s at all necessary?

Instead of asking for extra effort, maybe you should be appointing extra staff.

Because if the team can’t get through the wortkload in the time you’ve budgeted, there’s something wrong with your planning.

They’re not machines, after all. They need their rest and leisure time. They need to recharge and revitalise with life outside work. Advance their relationships and feed the spirit that drives them both through life and for you.

Which suggests any kind of wellness package might be more luxury than necessity. You’ve managed without it before now. If you can afford it, go for it. Just don’t expect a visible and measurable contribution to productivity, feelgood does not always equate into loyalty.

You wouldn’t be alone with such doubts. There’s plenty of businesses out there beginning to wonder if wellness programmes are all they’re cracked up to be.

More healthy, or less ill? It’s a trade-off.

So if productivity is still a worry, maybe you should invest in something closer to team needs.

Duty of care

Like compassion.

As much as a third of absenteeism and presenteeism causes are down to emotional and mental pressures. Stress, finding the strength to cope.

Allowed to fester, stress very quickly snowballs into physical issues – and productivity seriously takes a jolt. Headaches, the shakes, upset tummies, ulcers – all the things that worry and depression  can cause to drag down being able to work properly.

Expose any of these conditions to germs and they can only get worse. Double trouble when you could perhaps have stepped in and eased everything away.

Not an area where British managers have a shining track record.

Because it involves time, the ability to listen – and yes, sometimes money.

Professional team members rarely show what they’re feeling – precisely why they’re professional.  People seldom know of the mother dying of cancer,  the bullied daughter, the financial worries with the house, or just the confidence challenges of holding down a high-powered job.

Worry keeping them awake at night, self-doubt, broken-hearted despair – they’re all things that directly impact job performance, pulling down productivity.

And a lot of the time, all they need is a sympathetic ear, time-off snatches to deal with outside situations, a shoulder to lean on and some encouraging words.

Worth every penny – and every second

A lot less expensive than a high-powered wellness programme. But a better way of demonstrating that you care, that you’re on their side and really have their interests at heart.

Much more getting your money’s worth.

Because now when the extra mile is crucial to sudden opportunities, you know you can count on them. You’ve invested in their person, not their physical condition – and the dividends will last a lifetime.

Makes sense when you think about it. Because it’s not the quantity of work that boosts productivity, it’s the quality.

And how much better can quality be when a team member is fully motivated and going for it? Inspired because they want to be, stimulated by work, enjoying every second – so it isn’t really a job, it’s a way of life?

You want your money’s worth, you need to give of yourself. Just as your team are giving themselves to you.

Get this right and you should see productivity rocket.