Seems like it was forever ago, but it was only 2009.
Back when we discovered that pretty well anything we wanted to do could be done on the phone – because “there’s an app for that.”
Even in the days of the horse-drawn smartphone, you could organise and enhance your life more than anyone had ever done before.
More apps, more apps
Today of course, the opportunities have exploded – and personal health is the new magic playground.
Because right now, you can choose from over 50,000 health apps.
These things are amazing – extended even further by personal monitors and wearables.
Every second of the day you can monitor your blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar, breathing performance – whatever. Fitness and nutrition are the new Holy Grails – and in case you didn’t know you’re not getting any sleep, you can even monitor your insomnia.
Quite what you do with this information is up to you.
Fitness nuts will anguish over it and demand ever better achievement from themselves. Social media junkies will have a ball linking themselves to all kinds of condition from movie heart-throb to lying at death’s door.
Which turns every one of us into cyberchondriacs de luxe.
Yup, mobile health monitoring is the new craze – like in-line skates, or those karaoke-on-TV talent shows.
Except, where’s the app that warns you of bacteria? That bings at you if you walk into an infected area?
DO NOT PROCEED FURTHER.
Or the one that tells you a bit more about you raised temperature and thumping heart rate. Together with your sore throat, you’re on the way to this year’s flu. Take two paracetamol and check back with your app in two hours.
It’s not as if the technology doesn’t exist – the boffins have had systems up and running since 2011.
So why can’t we have the mobile equivalent of those terrific old maps that warned “Here be beasties?”
“Here be malaria.” “Here be Ebola.” We need never run into medical trouble again.
If one goes down, they all go down – it’s that kind of killer.
Because it mutates, see? Like all viruses and bacteria, it evolves an immunity from generation to generation. Survival of the fittest – and most lethal.
Dodgy virus, dodgy defence
Doubly dangerous this year, because the vaccine is less effective than usual.
Always a dodgy issue because it’s a guessing game. Before any outbreak happens, top World Health Organization medics have to choose which formula to use against which way they think new virus strains will develop.
Like spin the bottle to stop an epidemic.
Most of the time, they get it sort of right.
But viruses are unpredictable anyway – often flying off at a tangent.
Which is what they’ve done this year. Mutating into a new – and for the moment unconquerable – strain.
Which is why influenza A/H3N2 is not to be trusted – despite being tracked, mapped and closely documented since first appearing in 1968.
Hear the warning bells?
You might have everybody lined up for a flu jab. But there’s no guarantee it’s going to work – or even half-work.
So what’s your Plan B?
Because, impressive though they may be – all those free gym memberships, medical consultations, diet advice sessions, stop smoking clinics, feng shui décor options and ergonomic work stations are not going to work against this proven killer.
Only full-on germ elimination will do that.
And yes, there’s germs aplenty in every office. It’s just that they’re so small, they’re totally invisible to us. So we kid ourselves we’re all clear.
In reality, we’re playing Russian roulette.
Because we don’t see, we don’t notice. And most workplaces are crawling.
A killer is coming – and we’re unconsciously sitting right in the firing line.
Standing up to A/H3N2 needs at least everyone to wash their hands before and after doing anything. Not very practical, but doable with antiseptic wipes and gel placed ready on every desk.
Still it’s not enough.
Air: life-giving and deadly
All those surfaces are still contaminated – the nightly go with a vacuum cleaner and wipe-down with a damp rag is way inadequate. Plus the air itself is full of germs too.
We think of it as oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and carbon dioxide – and yes, it is.
It’s also dust, smoke, oil and exhaust fumes, toxic emissions and germs too. A full house of them – colds, flu, norovirus, MRSA, e. coli, salmonella, TB, c. difficile and at least 1,800 other viruses, bacteria and fungi .
Plus any day now, A/H3N2.
Our only defence apart from soap and water – the HEPA filters in our air-con system. If we have them. But they’re only good for particles down to 3 microns – and A/H3N2 is less than 2 microns.
Not good odds against a known and virulent killer.
Unless we take all germs out completely. Sterilise the whole place – desks, walls, ceiling, floor, every item of furniture and objects around it – plus of course, the air itself.
So it’s germ-free, safe and secure when we step in each morning.
And there’s only one way to do that with any certainty. Mist up everything every evening with ionised hydrogen peroxide. All germs are oxidised to nothing – including A/H3N2.
What? You don’t have regular hydrogen peroxide treatment as part of your wellness plan?
Better move fast, before the coughs and splutters start.
You don’t want your plan to look like window dressing.
That old advice, penny wise, pound foolish, never felt truer.
Sick or not, most managers aren’t happy unless all workers are full-time at their desks, getting on with the job.
Most staff know this. So despite being sick, do their damnedest to get back to work ASAP. There might not be a job if they don’t.
Which means staying at home two days instead of three. Getting back to work only half-recovered. And stressing about under-performance once they’re back.
The downside of penny-pinching
Hold that thought – under-performance.
About what happens when ANYONE is unwell at work.
Impaired competence. Not up to the mark. Not really doing their job properly.
Unsurprising really. How well CAN you perform when your guts are on fire, your head pounds like a pile-driver and your thoughts are all over the place?
And the boss is happy to pay for this deficiency?
That jobs take longer, important issues get missed and key clients feel neglected?
Has the price tag ever been calculated?
OK, according to CIPD figures, the average employee costs £522 per year in sick leave. Six days out of circulation at around £87 a day. Or as business experts PwC calculate it, an all-up cost to the country of £29 billion a year.
Not chicken-feed, so the average boss tries everything to avoid it.
Usually with stick, not carrot. Psychological mind games and bullying. The emotional blackmail of letting colleagues down. Real or imagined threats to job security.
Yeah right, a saving of £87 per person, per day.
£174 if pressured into coming back two days early instead of one. Big deal.
Meanwhile, as businesses are beginning to find, being unwell at work costs 10 times more than being booked off sick.
Save £87 – and lose £870. Penny-pinching gone mad.
And that’s just for starters.
Coming back early, those staffers could be contagious. Bringing back germs to infect others. A domino effect going round the office. More sick days, more expense – and more under-performance for everyone coming back early.
Make that under-performance, de luxe.
Because how motivated is anyone pressured into being at work when it’s a challenge just to be there? How committed? How prepared to go the extra mile?
Over and above the cost of being booked off sick – how does it work, being unwell at your desk?
What’s the cost of opportunities not followed up? Orders mislaid or lost? Delay penalties on late finishing work? Cost overruns from lack of supervision? Loss of goodwill? Or the cost of extra time and temp staff hired to meet deadlines?
Kinda makes nonsense out of strong-arming staff back to work, doesn’t it?
Or paying them an incentive to do so. Good money after bad.
And how about the fact that a lot of the time, it’s not being unwell that’s the issue? How about that most of us FREQUENTLY feel off colour and not completely ourselves? That somehow we feel pain or physical discomfort around every three days?
No wonder that under-performance is as expensive as it is.
Expensive and invisible. Often as much as a whole year’s salary per staff member eaten up in unnecessary overheads – a double salary bill.
Mistakenly accepted as things taking longer than expected, unforeseen setbacks and problems with productivity. All hazily explained away as a “cost of doing business”.
Yet how many bosses ever do anything to prevent it?
Not with bribes or misplaced back-to-work incentives, but a real investment in protecting staff health?
Because it can be done. Actively protecting staff health so they don’t get ill in the first place. At least, not in their working area.
All it takes is regular treatment to eradicate germs. Make the place sterile once a week, or even daily. No germs, people can’t get sick. All that money rescued.
Adding it to normal cleaning procedures will do it. A few hundred quid extra to mist the place up with ionised hydrogen peroxide – to oxidise all viruses and bacteria and be totally germ-free.
Not penny-pinching, but pound-grabbing.
And a lot extra besides.
How much better will staff feel, knowing that THEIR interests are at heart, that THEIR health is deliberately protected?
How about commitment now? Staff loyalty? Capability and performance? Going the extra mile? Productivity and efficiency? Or the company bank balance?
The costs might be invisible, but the dividends aren’t.
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.
But before you make it, there’s maybe things you can do to soften the blow.
No point making enemies if you don’t have to.
Like for instance, you live with the mould every day. But does everyone else?
Maybe the brass don’t know about it and your report is the first.
Thing is though, mould is expensive to fix. And time-consuming.
Like, what’s the cause?
A leaky pipe? Rain seeping through the wall? Busted roof? Or is it ventilation problems? The whole place airtight to hold in warmth, not enough circulation, humidity climbing through the roof – bang, mould everywhere.
In which case, tell the brass there’s a quick-fix way to take the mould down. Get relief from it now, today – before all the hoo-hah of getting inspectors in, building consultants, and ripping the place apart to get rid of it permanently.
The overnight quick-fix
Mist the place up with ionised hydrogen peroxide after everyone’s gone home. The stuff permeates everywhere and oxidises ALL germs to nothing – bacteria, viruses and fungi, which of course includes mould.
Next day, you can tell straight away that it’s worked. Those black marks are now grey – and there’s no pong. Breathe easy instead of wheezy, the air’s safe now. And all that grey stuff just brushes away.
Oh, yes. And doing a non-invasive hit like that is a lot cheaper and faster than hammering and plastering with Bob the Builder all over the place. A real short-term money-saver.
And believe us, mould might look like nothing – but those ugly black marks can kill as effectively as any bullet.
All it needs is an underlying complication. Respiratory problems, a weak heart – if your staff member dies, it could even be manslaughter.
Or you could leave it be.
Do nothing and let exposure for healthy staff rack up. Until one day, they have an underlying complication of their own. Or maybe it’s you, lying on oxygen in ICU, wondering if you’ll ever get your life back.
Wet, wet, wet – moisture is the enemy
OK, so do something.
But before you rush off and call in the steam cleaners, remember mould thrives when it’s warm and wet.
So here’s a few no-go words to keep in mind.
Wet, vapour, humidity, condensation, moisture and steam equals mould, respiratory problems and legionella.
Sure, you might get the stuff off the walls. But the lasting moisture accelerates it coming back.
And not just mould, but other pathogens. Viruses, bacteria. Get the place wet, and you’re opening a restaurant for them.
Which means you’ve got to go dry.
Besides, who wants moisture dripping on cables in the IT suite? Or getting into documents, come to that. Crinkled paper, water marks, pages sticking together. Not so easy to look professional.
Wake the tiger
Only one thing for it.
Ionised hydrogen peroxide in an ultra-fine mist. A mild 6% solution that doesn’t need lots of water to help it disperse. So it sits, light and agile in the air, not really wet at all.
Because you see, legionnaire’s disease is a nasty killer kind of super-pneumonia. And it breeds in water systems, central heating and air-con cooling towers. In pipes and showers too – anywhere that water lies still for more than a few hours.
Spread by air, once you breathe that in, it’s serious. Especially with a previous condition. Asthma perhaps, or a dicky ticker – even being a smoker is enough. Then it’s hospital and drugs and even then you might not make it.
And that’s just ONE of your invisible liabilities.
There’s plenty of others you can get hit for too – if you don’t take precautions.
Around 30 other notifiable diseases on the governments infectious diseases list. Monsters like cholera, typhoid, measles SARS, smallpox and yellow fever.
Yes, sure – nothing to do with you. Unless it happens.
Nothing like the non-events in your workplace. A few snuffles and tummy bugs – chicken feed.
It’s those day-to-day bugs that are your real invisible liabilities.
And we mean day-to-day. Surprisingly, every one of us only feels up to 100% par for two or three days at a time. Otherwise, in some way or other, we’re all off-colour several times a week. An ache, a twinge, an iffy feeling, always something.
Money, money, money
Which is why, for starters, business experts PwC put losses from absenteeism at around £29 billion a year.
Hardly chicken feed.
Even more costly are the heroes who struggle to work when they’re not well. Not fully recovered from something, but worried about job security. Wrestling with flu, and the same worries. Or staggering in with tummy cramps, and determined not to be fired.
Presenteeism, it’s called. And experts reckon it costs 10 times more than absenteeism – £290 billion a year.
Put the two together and that’s £319 billion that illness costs UK businesses.
So let’s see – £319 billion, possible fines of £1 million or more. Oh yes, and if you have a suspected outbreak of any kind, the Health & Safety people have a thing called their fee for intervention, which is also not pocket money.
Plus of course, all the losses caused by under-performing or not fully-focused staff desperate to keep going. Mistakes, missed deadlines, clients rubbed up the wrong way and other disasters. Germonomics we call it – and to calculate what it could be costing your own business, click here.
Seems those invisible liabilities are pretty hefty.
And the fix?
For under £1,000 a month your facilities management people can buy a machine that will ELIMINATE germs for you – as in eradicate, clear out, sterilise.
Or maybe your cleaning service can do it for you for few hundred extra.
A nightly mist-up with ionised hydrogen peroxide and ALL germs are gone – hunted out of existence by a prowling tiger of a germ-killer.
Give yourself a raise
Yeah, there might still be dust and breadcrumbs when you run your finger down your desk. But count on it, there’ll be NO germs. Your place is safe and secure to a 6-log Sterility Assurance Level.
Tell you what else.
You might not have been able to see your invisible liabilities. But you sure as heck won’t be able to hide the sudden dividend that getting rid of them will trigger.
It was lurking in a hot tub on display, waiting for customers to prey on. The tub hadn’t been used for weeks, allowing the bacteria to grow – spreading through the air as soon as it was turned on.
Anywhere, any time, germs are waiting
Which is all it takes to spread legionella anywhere – a water system that stands still for a few days, or even hours. Like hot water systems for showers and central heating. Or holding tanks for air conditioning systems.
Basically any business premises – office or shop.
And by law it is the duty of any management to ensure that staff and employees are protected from exposure to this deadly killer.
Bet you didn’t know that – but it’s there.
And ignorantia juris non excusat – ignorance of the law is no excuse.
You ARE obliged to provide protection from germs – part of your duty of care.
Check out the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA), the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (MHSWR) and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH).
Fail to ensure your people are safe and a £1 million fine is not impossible. It’s happened before. Last year, G4S Cash Solutions was fined £1.8 million for similarly putting people at risk.
Out of money, out of business
Big bucks. Enough to put even rock solid companies well and truly out of business.
But that’s only the beginning of what invisible germs are already costing you – if only you knew it. Threats you can’t see, chomping away at your bottom line.
For a start, business experts PwC put absenteeism – days off sick from work – at £29 BILLION.
But more realistically, germs cost 10 TIMES MORE than that in presenteeism – people struggling to work while still unwell.
And it’s not just legionella.
In any unprotected business, staff and customers have all kinds of other germs to cope with. From everyday colds and flu, or tummy bugs like norovirus – to serious illnesses like e.coli, clostridium difficile, campylobacter and MRSA. All superbugs that cannot be treated by antibiotics.
But for pretty well everything else, a daily mist up of ionised hydrogen peroxide is all it takes to remove ALL viruses and bacteria. Easily handled by your existing cleaning service or your own facilities management team.
You can’t see it working apart from the mist. But you can tell it has.
Any smells that were lingering in your premises are now gone. And any trace of mould has now turned from black to grey – dead cells ready to be swept away.
Still can’t see it?
Ask your bank
Wait till you check your bank balance and productivity levels.
Fewer absences, fewer underperformances from staff unwell at work. More enthusiasm, more commitment to succeed. Greater support from customers and suppliers.
Only this time they’re as wrong as it’s possible to be.
That all-powerful, untouchable king of business – the customer.
The one person who can shoot reputations to pieces better than anybody.
The customer is always… dangerous
With dirty hands.
By leaving ugly paw prints all over everything.
Grab, fumble, tarnish – another reputation shot.
Greasy fingerprints on crystal glassware. Smears on polished bodywork. Dark stains on pristine linen.
And the ones you can’t see. Germs all over menus, cutlery and serving dishes – a food poisoning nightmare.
Next thing, it’s them – or other customers – complaining of stomach cramps, running to the loo, and barfing all over the carpet before they get there.
Nothing to do with you. It’s them.
The germs on their fingers are theirs – brought in after touching goodness knows what. Invisible, but dicey just the same. Possibly even deadly.
Always innocent – gets away clean
But guess who takes the hit?
Never them, the customer is king. Or more accurately in the food business, the customer is god.
So, taken ill after a night out – it can only be the restaurant. Dodgy ingredients, improperly prepared, sloppy personnel hygiene, dirty utensils – nobody has a leg to stand on. Solicitor on speed dial.
One finger accusing, three fingers pointing back.
Lost licence, closure, law suits, bank withdrawal, business collapse, HUGE money losses. And all because Fred Nurk didn’t wash his hands before eating. What kind of defence do you have against that?
And how many OTHER customers represent the same kind of risk?
They’re supposed to be on the ball, but how many actuaries would accept any eatery’s risk if they knew 88% of customers NEVER wash their hands before eating? Lots of rules for businesses to follow, none for customers. Where’s the justice?
And those are just the day-to-day instances – with nobody thinking about anything.
Then there’s the FAKE claims. The ones where the customer deliberately tries it on. Take a look at your newspaper – first Crete – and now Turkey. The thin end of the wedge.
So how long will it be before it gets tried here at home? And how many reputations have gone down the tubes because some smart operators have got away with it already?
Yeah, so Reputational Protection No 1.
Have your serving staff go round every table before handing out menus. Make a ceremony of it if necessary, but have them politely but firmly squirt antibacterial gel into the hands of everyone present.
Now at least your menus should be safe. And unless they go they go to the loo mid-meal, your customers should be safe from themselves for the evening.
Follow that up with Reputational Protection No 2.
Sterilise the whole place as often as possible – at least every night after closing. Which means mist it up with ionised hydrogen peroxide, so all viruses and bacteria are neutralised. No germs to catch, no tummy upsets to take away.
Do it. There’s too many business reputations already in the wrong hands – including yours. So it’s worth every penny to take it away from them and regain control for yourself.
Like we said, even strong reputations are fragile things.
No point running risks with them when you don’t have to.
So that “5” Rating on your door is already under threat before you start.
Because you just know some hot-shot solicitor is going to make mincemeat of your case, no matter how meticulous you are.
Which means, “5” Rating or not, it’s worth investing in a little protection.
Protecting your interests – and reputation
OK, you can’t exactly demand they all hit the washroom before being shown to their table. They’ll never come back – and they’ll bad-mouth you to all their friends.
But you can protect hygiene levels AND offer a little courtesy – if you serve each guest with an individual hand-wipe or sachet of antimicrobial gel. Not as grand as steam-heated towels, but a lot more effective. Warm dampness in any case stimulates more bacteria than it kills.
On top of that, you also have the option to reassure clients that the whole place is sterile before opening for every session. Any germs previous guests might have left on chairs, table undersides, or condiment containers are eradicated without having to think about them.
And everywhere else as well. The drapes they might have touched. The carpets they might have tracked stuff in on. Not necessarily dog poo, but invisible germs. Plus harmful microbes lurking anywhere else. On menus, door handles, light switches, in the air itself.
One quick 40-minute session with ionised hydrogen peroxide mist will remove all viruses and bacteria. Oxidised to nothing, so the whole place is safe, secure and sterile.
And your reputation is no longer at risk.
Yes, sure – there might be the odd curmudgeon who refuses to co-operate. But how curmudgeonly do they have to be to refuse a pretty staffer personally offering an individually presented hand-wipe with your compliments?
A little insurance – and proof you’ve more than earned your “5” Rating.
Your customers are happy too.
Because how many of them will boast about the superior evening with PERSONAL hand hygiene – AND the place was specially sterilised before they got there?
A toast to you, then. May your business grow and prosper!