Always a worry isn’t it? You think you’re getting your money’s worth – but there are doubts.
Especially with productivity.
Why does everything have to be so difficult? Why does it take so long? Doesn’t anyone care what they’re doing?
And you can’t blame your team, or even think of it.
You hired them. They’re all professionals. Carefully motivated and they love working for you.
So is it Murphy’s Law that so many things go pear-shaped?
Don’t beat yourself up about it.
You’re a victim of presenteeism. Team members coming to work unwell.
Invisible black hole
A lot of businesses – mainly old school – reckon that’s a good thing. Everybody at their desks, you’re up to full strength. Optimum efficiency.
Because just think about the implications of being unwell at work. You’ve been there yourself, so you know what it’s like. How do you cope?
The short answer is, you don’t.
Yes, you can tough it out and put in the hours. But the lousy way you feel means the spark isn’t there.
It might be the most involving and satisfying job in the world – but you haven’t got the sharp edge. Performance is down and you know it. You might be the most brilliant MBA ever hired, but right now you’d struggle through Key Stage One SATS.
Which is what being unwell does.
The sweats, the swimmy head, the roiling guts, the wanting to throw up all the time.
It might be flu, food poisoning, meningitis, or whatever. Basically you’ve been exposed to germs – and your productivity is down the tubes.
All very commendable, coming in to work, from a commitment point of view. The martyr fighting off demons, defiantly standing by your post.
Until you consider the cost.
You’re an MBA, right? Or some equally commendable professional. With a salary north of £50K. An imbursement spread over 12 months a year and probably worth every penny.
But right now you don’t have MBA capabilities, do you? Or anywhere close.
You’re closer to flying your desk as a Key Stage One SATS, and not a very happy one at that.
Which means how good is the work you’re doing? How accurate? How professional?
Without meaning to, you could be doing a lot of damage. And because you’re a trusted high-level performer, any glitches you cause might not be picked up for months.
That’s not doing the business any favours – or yourself, come to that.
You should be resting up, at home in bed, or in hospital. Somewhere safe where you can shake it off and avoid infecting any of your colleagues. But sure, you’ve already used up your leave allocation – so here you are, hanging in there and pretending everything is normal.
And right there is why presenteeism is such a major liability – 10 times the cost of absenteeism , if not more. And according to at least one business study, most of us are like that 57.5 days a year – almost 3 working months.
Down the tubes
Which on your MBA package – and through no fault of your own – is £12.5K’s worth of productivity you’re NOT providing.
In reality you’re only worth £37.5K. But the business is committed to paying £50K – so what happens to the difference?
Only one answer – the business absorbs the cost. Your salary is £50K plus and that’s a given overhead – cast in bronze until the next wage review.
Nor is that the only way the business is out of pocket.
What about the value of all the work you do with your Key Stage One SATS capability?
Way below par, the business has to kick in to compensate. At best for sub-standard work – at worst for all the mistakes, oversights and omissions you make, without ever meaning to.
OK, so now it’s magic wand time.
What if you never became unwell in the first place? If something stopped you from becoming sick? Some kind of prevention – to protect you and all your fellow team members.
Suddenly that £12.5K isn’t money down the drain any more.
Instead of turbo-charging through 9 nine months and then spluttering through 3 – you’re on after-burners for the full year. Up and going for it with the bit between your teeth, seriously delivering your money’s worth.
So are your colleagues – because they’re human, they have the same 57.5 day handicap you do. But with no germs to catch and so no illness to feel, they’re delivering 12 months too.
Which means if there’s 10 of them on your team, that’s £125K worth of productivity suddenly laid on the line – the equivalent of another 2¼ of you. Not exactly peanuts!
So how’s it done, socking it to presenteeism – getting rid of all the germs so the problem goes away?
A lot easier than you think.
Washing your hands of it
By upping business hygiene levels and keeping them there.
We can’t see germs, so most of the time we don’t even think that they’re there. Plus, we associate germs with dirt – and if things don’t LOOK dirty, it never occurs to us that they’re there either.
Which why we should never judge by appearances.
Germs are always everywhere. We are constantly exposed to them – viruses, bacteria, fungi.
We’re even half-bacteria ourselves. The good bacteria that colonise our bodies, handling digestion, creating proteins, even managing our immune system.
Unaware of all this, we take chances. Horrific risks that would appal us if we realised.
- 62% of men and 40% of women NEVER wash their hands after going to the toilet.
- 95% of people don’t even wash their hands properly.
- Only 12% of people wash their hands before eating.
Simultaneous with that are the hazards we expose ourselves to:
- The average desk has over 10 million unseen bacteria – 400 times more than a toilet.
- A typical keyboard may have 7,500 organisms hiding on it.
- Only one in five of us ever cleans our desk before eating.
- At least two in three of us always eat lunch there.
To make matters worse, by reflex habit, most of us touch our face up to 3,000 times a day. Responding to an an itch, pausing in thought, rubbing our eyes – playing with the soft tissue that is germs’ No 1 way into the body.
Getting rid of germs
All of which means, if you do nothing else – just putting antibacterial wipes or gel on every desk every day will bring the odds down of catching anything.
Better still, it’s possible to eliminate germs from the workplace completely – by misting up the premises with germ-killing hydrogen peroxide. A quick and easy addition to the evening cleaning routine.
In sterile conditions, germs can’t survive. No exposure, no illnesses to catch. Everyone’s safe – at least inside. Germ zero at the start of everyday – the only germs are the ones people bring in from outside.
It is if you’re used to paying £12 an hour for cleaning and suddenly you’re sterilising the place.
Depending on the size of the place, £1K a month or more. Around the same money the business loses in productivity through your existing presenteeism – and that’s just for one of you!
All the way to the bank
But do the math yourself. 10 on your team losing £125K a year on productivity – against £12K a year eliminating germs and winning it all back again.
That’s getting your money’s worth, surely?