Avoidable: the invisible overhead you’re always paying a bomb for

Stealing money
You don’t see it, but germs at work steal a whopping chunk of income every year, and we do nothing

Can’t see it yet? Of course not, it’s invisible.

So here’s a clue.

Look around your office, count the empty desks.

People off sick, work not happening, lost revenue – we’re talking absentees, right?

Nice try, but that’s not it.

Now count the desks with people who look under-par.

Martyrs sick at work

Head down, avoiding your gaze because of a headache. Rheumy eyed. Sniffling. Twisting with gut ache. Waiting till you’ve gone to run to the loo – again.

They’re your walking wounded. Martyrs all. The ones who shouldn’t be at work, but came anyway. Sick as dogs,  feeling like death. About as useful as elephants on roller skates.

Yeah, we’ve all been there – including yourself. More liability than asset. Going through the motions, making mistakes, just wishing it was time to go home.

57 days a year, we’re like that. Almost three working months. Not sick enough to take leave, but not well enough to be on top of things either. Blundering on with some bug we probably caught at work anyway – because that’s where we spend most of our time.

Always at risk

Some bug at work. How sensible is that?

We wouldn’t expose ourselves to noxious fumes or toxic chemicals. Too dangerous, impossible to do business.

Yet we expose ourselves to other hazards every day without a thought. Invisible, so we don’t even twig that they are there. Always and every day, waiting to do us down. We can’t see germs.

We sure as hell know when they hit us though – and still we do nothing.

Totally crazy, right?

If the germs were a notifiable disease like polio, or mumps, or SARS, the Health & Safety people would be all over us, trying to shut us down.

Yeah, but they’re invisible, see? Rotten, horrible germs. How can we plan for hazards we can’t see?

We don’t see them, so we don’t think of them. Not lazy, just not on the radar. But dangerous, just the same. And big money losers too.

Just a hint of legionnaire’s disease and we’re hauled into court, fined, shackled with a criminal record and lucky if we don’t get nailed with a custodial sentence.

OK, it’s against the law to gloss over hazards like legionnaire’s disease. Every business is responsible for the safety of its staff. To protect them from hazards like dangerous germs and care for their health. And legionnaire’s is one the law gets tough on.

Where’s the protection?

But how nuts is it that we don’t have protection from any others?

There’s billions of germs all around us and we do nothing. Not even wash our hands if we’re honest – which 95% of us don’t even bother to do properly.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

And it costs money, money, money.

Utterly nuts because it’s all avoidable, just by taking precautions.

If there’s no germs, we can’t get sick. And if we’re not sick, there’s nothing to stop us working at full power. Nothing to stop us going to the top, ready to take on the world.

All it takes to stop germs is to make the place sterile. Which your cleaning service can do right alongside the nightly swamp-out of desks and waste bins after everyone goes home.

Push button easy

Easy peasy, and about as difficult as using a vacuum cleaner.

A lot less effort though, machines do it automatically. Press a button and forty minutes later, all those invisible germs are dead.

So instead of paying a bomb, you’re saving a bomb. Instead of being underpowered, you’re firing on all four. No more invisible hazards, more like visible money-making.

Come on! What are you waiting for?

Picture Copyright: hypermania2 / 123RF Stock Photo

Does the money spent on your wellness plan stop people getting sick?

Accountant eyeing money
A little bit of money on hygiene, to protect the millions you could lose through staff illnesses

Wellness plans are all very well, but do they actually deliver?

Sure it’s good to promote a healthy lifestyle and push people in that direction .

And yes, paying for gym membership and providing inspirational décor works wonders for motivation and building feelgood confidence.

But which part of your “wellness” package can shield staff from norovirus?

Money at risk, without protection

A company flu jab won’t exactly crack it. It won’t stack up much against e.coli, salmonella, clostridium difficile, campylobacter, the superbug MRSA or cold and flu viruses either.

Yet any one of these could take down key staff without warning. Out of the loop, out of action, out of circulation altogether.

A vacuum you might scramble to fill. Colleagues doubling up, temp staff struggling with unfamiliar duties, lost momentum on priority projects, deadlines missed, deals dropped, revenue severely down.

All on top of sick pay of course.

Because you’re still on the hook for salary, even though they’re not productive. A big hole in income-earning that can happen any time. Because that’s what they’re doing for you, isn’t it? In one way or another, their job is making money for you.

A stupid germ stops them working, that doesn’t happen.

Not just to a solo staff member either. The wrong germ at the wrong time could take a whole team down. Which means any wellness plan without health protection could cost millions.

Guarding against losses

Sure, sure, most wellness programmes claim to reduce health CARE costs. Putting everyone through health checks. Directing them at meds and treatment meant to keep them healthy.

Not many mention anything about avoiding germs in the workplace though. Or about ensuring a safe, non-hazardous, illness-free environment.

Even authoritative health care sources tend to skate around the issue. One of them openly acknowledges the fact. “Employers know they can’t prevent their employees from being in accidents or getting colds…” it says. Is that maybe an excuse for not trying?

No matter how wonderful they are, workplaces are known havens for germs. Inevitable with a lot of people working together all in the same place. Many times, research has shown that the average office desk might have as many as 10 million germs.

Yet how many wellness programmes promote basic protective hygiene?

At your fingertips

First, by keeping hands washed clean. Second, by providing antiseptic wipes to at least clean active surfaces on desks. A secondary backup  to maintaining hand hygiene.

Meanwhile, there’s plenty germs lurking on other parts of all those desks. Down the back, along the sides next to the wall, and among all the cabling for everyone’s computer. Wiping that lot down properly could take a morning’s work.

But it’s not as sexy as a half-hour session on the treadmill. And since when did rub and scrub equate with “wellness”?

Actually, since forever ago. Or at least since Joseph Lister first introduced principles of cleanliness to surgical procedures back in the 1800s.  Back when the realisation hit, that dirty equals dangerous.

And the flip-side, that sterile means safe.

Hygienic or else

Which begs the question. What does your wellness programme do about making your workplace sterile?

Respectfully, daylight emulation lighting, feng shui colour schemes, gym membership and fresh fruit in reception add up to nothing if staff can’t perform because they’re sick.

Not when you’re up against thug bacteria like e. coli. Far worse than norovirus, it too causes severe cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea. But this time with increased risk of hemolytic uremic syndrome – damage to kidneys that could lead to needing dialysis, blood transfusions – and death if it goes wrong.

And the causes of e. coli? Contaminated food or drink, often from human faecal matter. No surprise there, since 62% of men and 40% of women NEVER wash their hands after going to the loo.

On top of which, only 12% of people wash their hands before eating.

And worse, 95% of people don’t even wash their hands properly.

Which sort of says, push the hand hygiene issue – even with hand wipes – and you could also reduce staff sickness by 95%.

Thousands and millions

A big difference to absenteeism costs, temp staffing, lost initiatives and other inevitable expenses – however many thousands, or millions, that is.

Better still, for a fraction of the cost of all this revenue loss and downtime, it’s possible to get rid of e.coli, norovirus and all the others, right down to nothing.

More effective than aerobic exercises, it’s a procedure that involves misting up the place with hydrogen peroxide. IONISED hydrogen peroxide. Electrostatically charged to disperse in all directions – under and behind things, deep into cracks and crevices – to destroy ALL bacteria and viruses by oxidising them.

Forty minutes later, the room or whatever space you’re treating is sterile. No germs, no anything – in the air, on surfaces, on cables, in nooks and crannies, anywhere. No germs for people to catch, no illnesses to succumb to.

Keep fit, or keep healthy?

The only germs present are those that people unavoidably bring in themselves. But no longer adding to the ambient germs already there, because there aren’t any. Less chance for anybody to come down with anything. Your money is safer than it would be bankrolling a treadmill.

Not to say that all wellness programmes are inadequate of course. But some of them do seem to have lost their way. “Wellness” implies protecting health, which is exactly what focusing on higher level hygiene does.

Which makes it an insurance policy if you like. Not just for your staff, but to secure the millions of pounds you have yet to make from being nobbled by unforseens.

Money well spent.

Picture Copyright: rrraum / 123RF Stock Photo and cepera / 123RF Stock Photo