Tag Archives: mould

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

Wheezy question, iffy answer: should we sue for mould at work?

Two men crouching2
Wheezy mould at work is a misery you don’t have to live with

Wheezy, wheezy – isn’t it?

You’re coughing your guts out, that cannot be good.

Your mate’s in agonies, why shouldn’t you have a go?

Not so cut and dried, though – is it?

You sue, and they sling you out on your ear.

Even though there’s mould there, plain as day. Big black marks, right next to your desk.

Sure, it’s hazardous to your health – and sure, you should do something about it.

Health & Safety on your side

But there’s channels for this – big guns on your side.

And there’s no point putting your job on the line.

You already know the score. Mould triggers asthma, chest infections, allergies.

Which means you’re protected by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002.

Not just against mould, but all kinds of germs – because of the stuff you do and the things you work with. Or just plain germs at work that make you ill.

One phone call to Health & Safety and things start rolling.

Scoring brownie points

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.

You might even get a raise for it.

Easy, right? And not so wheezy any more.

Health alert: those black mould marks could cost you thousands

Mould accuse
Mould in the workplace is a whole can of worms

So what? Mould marks are everywhere. This is Britain, for heck’s sake – it rains.

Sure it rains. But not inside.

Mould and damp conditions are unhealthy as you can get. For your staff and your balance sheet.

A full house of trouble. Sick building syndrome, asthma, colds, flu, rheumatism, pneumonia. Outbreaks over and over again, accelerating as the mould gets worse.

The paying starts – and never stops

Staff off sick, productivity down the plughole, profits plunging – feelgood become feelbad.

And even worse once the council finds out. Health & Safety people all over you, building inspectors ripping up the walls, dragging days in court.

Then the fines.

How much could you be in for?

Depends.

Could be a one-off £5K fine.

Or the whole deal. Sickness compensation, absentee costs, insurance claims, nasty.

And all on your watch.

Duty of care

Like we said yesterday with legionnaire’s disease, it’s your duty to protect staff against hazards.

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.

A sleeping tiger that wakens to pounce.

Ionising makes it aggressively disperse in all directions. Hard up against all surfaces, probing deep into inaccessible places, clawing through the air itself.

Which means germs don’t stand a chance, including mould. Ionised particles seize them like prey, ripping them to pieces by oxidising their cells.

Look again, and those ugly black marks have turned to grey. Nobody home any more. So with almost no effort, they brush easily away.

No smell either – the usual sign of pathogens at work. All stopped now, the place is sterile.

End of the feelbad.

All germs gone, now for the cause

The place is dry too. No moisture to encourage a comeback. The stuff evaporates to nothing.

Job done.

At least, for now.

Because the mould might be gone, but not the cause.

That leaky roof or busted pipe needs fixing fast, or it will be back again.

And sure, you can keep hitting the place with hydrogen peroxide, your staff will always be safe.

But that won’t get the council off your back. Or the Health & Safety brigade.

Fix the problem, or they WILL hit you.

Like they did with these guys. Leaky pipe, occupational asthma, £12,000 compensation PLUS six months building work to make good.

Not worth the PT – and who wants that kind of black mark against them?

How to get a quick-fix for sick building syndrome

Architect running
To do the job in a hurry, the best quick-fix is ionised hydrogen peroxide

This quick-fix works – but like all rushed emergencies, not always.

You see, it’s the people who are sick, not the building.

The building just is.

And not much is going to change unless the building does.

So this is a quick-fix to overlay the real problem – a temporary stop-gap.

But it’s a quick-fix that can work over and over again, every time from scratch.

Don’t expect miracles.

Though getting rid of the problem in less than a day might count as miracle.

So you can get your hopes up.

Location, location, location

OK, obviously there’s not much can be done about location.

If the walls are shuddering every few minutes from British Airways jumbos letting down into Heathrow, it’s a question of like it or lump it.

Likewise, if the building is sitting across from an electricity generating station and low frequency vibrations give people headaches, make sure there’s plenty of paracetamol.

But if you look at the symptoms people come down with, the basic problems are ventilation, poor hygiene and mould – or some other pathogenic contamination.

Uh huh. The root cause is structural – so the best fix is to tear it all down and start again.

Yeah, right. Who’s got that kind of money? And where does everyone go while they build a new one?

Medicine for buildings

So our quick-fix is to COMPENSATE for the building’s usual faults. To make everybody feel better for a few days or maybe a week. And keep doing it over and over, for as long as it takes.

That’s because, like the medicines we take for ourselves, the effect wears off over time. It needs a re-dose to stay effective.

And dose is right – like a medicine for the building.

Not an antibiotic, but an across-the-board antimicrobial that takes out all germs. Because it’s germs that cause most of the usually flu-like symptoms – headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, poor concentration, shortness of breath, irritated eyes and throat, runny noses and skin rashes.

OK, it’s a quick-fix, right?

Start the clock.

It needs to be instant. Get in, do the job, and get out again – preferably in minutes.

Which it certainly does – using hydrogen peroxide, the same stuff our own bodies produce to fight germs inside us.

Just wheel in the mobile unit, hit the button – and a superfine dry mist of ionised hydrogen peroxide spreads through the place, force-driven by electrostatic charge. It fills the air, presses hard up against all surfaces, presses deep into all cracks and crevices, everywhere.

Germs to oblivion

Like millions of tiny magnets, charged particles reach out and grab at opposite-charged germs, oxidising them to oblivion. Their cell structure is ripped apart by oxygen atoms – with no survivors, provided exposure time is long enough.

And how long is that? Around forty minutes for the average room. Long enough for the hydrogen peroxide to spread, clamp on to germs, do their stuff and revert back to oxygen and water, which promptly evaporates.

Result? ALL germs are gone. All viruses, all bacteria, all fungi – to a Log-6 Sterility Assurance Level, 99.9999% of all pathogens destroyed.

How can you tell?

Well germs are so small, you can only work on clues. Usually there’s nothing to see.

The proof

First off, there should be no smells. Organic smells that is – if it’s chemical, cleaners or diesel fuel, there’ll still be residue.

But there won’t be any pongs of something off – the stinking signature of bacteria at work, causing rot and decay. And cause of making us ill – colds, flu, runny tummy, whatever. Billions of them gone – from gastroenteritis to typhoid and cholera.

Same thing with mould, cause of asthma and all kinds of breathing problems. As you can see for yourself wherever it might be – around leaking pipes or down damp walls. Those dark black marks are now grey. The living fungi are gone, and you can sweep away their remains with a brush.

For the rest, ask the people who work there. It should feel easier, more pleasant, with fresher air.

A quick-fix, like we say. Because none of the building’s problems are solved. They’ve just gone away short-term. Disappeared with the germs that caused them.

Stop the clock.

Easy, huh? Happier, healthier people – and a lot cheaper than building a new building.

Picture Copyright: Elnur / 123RF Stock Photo

Get the right cleaning service and they’ll SAVE you a fortune

Cleaning team with Halo
Real cleaning includes getting rid of germs – push-button easy with a Hypersteriliser like this one

Getting it right means choosing a service that does more than mop and sponge.

It’s your duty of care to provide a secure working environment for staff – and that should include protection from germs.

For example, you wouldn’t expect them to work in surroundings with mould damage. Nor would you want to expose them to legionella – in fact by law, you have to safeguard them against it.

Which underlines the basic business rule about cleaning services: cheap is expensive.

Make that VERY expensive.

Unwell at work – the high cost of presenteeism

Because having staff out of action from a bug they picked up at work has a knock-on effect way beyond paying for sick leave or replacement staff.

Your hero types will drag themselves to their desks even if they’re not 100%. And nobody performs at their best if they’re unwell at work. Things get missed, service levels slip and critical deadlines go for a ball of chalk.

Big bucks, you’re right – the perils of presenteeism.

So while a quick run-round with vacuum cleaner and sponge might make the place look tidy, it’s unlikely to do the job you really need – to get rid of germs.

No, that doesn’t mean the doom and gloom scenario of a deep clean every night. Or the place reeking of bleach so that your head spins.

As any top-line cleaning service can tell you, eliminating germs can be quick, easy and safe. Just mist the place up with ionised hydrogen peroxide and the germ count drops to zero.

Well to 99.9999% at least – a 6-Log Sterility Assurance Level.

No viruses, no bacteria, no fungi, no mould – they’re all oxidised to nothing.

Checking for proof

How can you tell?

Well you can’t see germs, they’re too small. But sample testing at various locations around your premises should all prove germ-free.

Your nose will confirm it too. Germs smell when they’re at work, the key giveaway that they’re there. Treat the place with hydrogen peroxide and smells disappear – instead there’s a neutral freshness.

The other giveaway is mould – if you’re unfortunate to have any. Around the air conditioner maybe, where water drips from the condenser. After treatment, those black shadow marks turn grey. The stuff is dead and easily brushed away.

Best of all though, is that your staff are safe. Their health is protected and they know you’ve gone out of your way to do it. Much more significant than feng shui treatment with colour schemes and furniture.

Better even than gym membership or medical care. You’ve taken steps to PREVENT illness before it happens – putting their health first.

The upbeat power of health

That does things to their morale and psyche. Activates the feel-good of being actively healthy and WANTING to get cracking. They’re committed, full of energy and busting to achieve.

It’s motivation not possible any other way. The kind that fuels commitment and voluntarily going for best. A competitive edge that happens literally overnight.

Not bad for a lowly cleaning service, hey? Though they’re not exactly lowly.

As the right choice, they provide the right facilities at the right time. And it doesn’t get righter than keeping germs out of the workplace.

It all adds up – being right.

Saving money because staff don’t go off sick so often. They’re at their desks with their finger on the pulse.

No downside costs from being unwell at work either. They’re in control and at full strength, delivering everything you pay them for.

And MAKING money from positive vibes. A bunch of professionals healthy and well – fully motivated and going for it.

Ready to take on the world.

Picture Copyright: andreypopov / 123RF Stock Photo

But does your cleaning service get rid of germs?

Biz exec on phone
Germ-free in the workplace – the BIG difference between clean and safe

You’ve seen your cleaning service in action, right?

Working late, in comes the swamp-out team, embroidered polo shirts and latex gloves – all very efficient.

And sure thing, cleaning is what they do. Harry vacuum cleaner on a long lead, waste bins emptied into black plastic bags, desks wiped down with a J-cloth.

An hour tops, and they’re out of there – wham, bam, thank you ma’am.

Oh yes, and once a month they clean the windows, wipe the sills and straighten all the pictures.

Looks clean, but germs are invisible

OK, so the place looks clean, but appearances aren’t everything. And doing anything further is outside their remit. You want clean, you get clean.

Except that wall where the busted rainwater pipe cascades down the outside bricks?

There’s damp coming through and mould beginning to show – right next to where the top customer service team hit the phones all day. Experienced experts with heavy pay cheques, but always one of them down with a cough or sniffle.

Call facilities management, right. But they never answer the phone. No joy anyway, with the manager always off in Lanzarote, Ibiza, or wherever. Nice for some.

Meantime you have to wonder. Windows shut against the cold, warm air gusting down from the air-con duct. Stirring up the germs and everybody breathing the same stuff. How safe are your people anyway?

OK, there’s two of them expecting and most have had their flu jabs. But how about the tummy bug that floored  six of them last week? Not a good time to be off, and the office is still playing catch-up. A big dip in the figures when you least expect it.

Germs everywhere – a business hazard

Oh sure, the cleaning service do their job.

But by now the realisation’s hitting home that clean does not necessarily mean safe. Maybe it LOOKS clean, but there is a duty of care to all staff. And nobody wants illness to punch holes in their bottom line.

So, germs. Where do you start?

Google it, and you’ll find the average desk has over 10 million germs at any one time.

And there’s more in the air. Together with our own personal germ clouds that all of us have. That’s 80% of the room space teeming with potential health hazards. Invisible of course because they’re too small to see. But you’ll know all about it when absentees start happening.

Fortunately, there is immediate protection you can ensure. And easy enough for your cleaning service to bolt on as part of their regular package.

First they tidy up and clean like normal. Then they let fly with their germ-busting kit.

If you want to work late now, better take it home with you. It’s not harmful and that stuff that’s used is mild, but getting rid of germs requires eye protection and a breathing kit. No need to suffer irritation unnecessarily.

Germs to oblivion

That’s because the germ-buster of choice is hydrogen peroxide. Ionised to spread evenly as a dry, super-fine mist through the air in all directions – hard up against walls, ceilings and floors, reaching under and behind, deep into cracks and crevices.

Ionising also charges every particle. Causing them to reach and grab viruses and bacteria – all of which are oppositely-charged. The particles clamp to them like magnets, ripping them apart by oxidising them. Shoving oxygen atoms at them that tears apart their cell structure.

Around 40 minutes is all it takes. To generate the mist, disperse and activate – reverting back to harmless oxygen and water afterwards. In that time 99.9999% of ALL germs are annihilated – in the air, on surfaces, around all objects, everywhere.

No viruses, no bacteria, no fungi or mould either – though the landlord will still have to fix that pipe.

The small amount of water quickly evaporates – no risk to electrical connections and computer cables- leaving a microscopic layer of colloidal silver as a lasting germ barrier. The room is now safe to a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6.

Easy-peasy? You bet.

All it takes with the Hypersteriliser machine is wheel it in, hit the button, and let everything happen automatically. With clever circulating, the cleaning service could clean and sterilise your whole place in not much longer than they do now.

No germs anywhere. Clean, secure, safe.

Your employees ought to like that. So should your balance sheet.

Put it to your cleaning service. How about it?

Picture Copyright: dolgachov / 123RF Stock Photo

Work-place germs 0: Germs on hands 10m

Girl stops play
Sure, clean the place like crazy –
but don’t forget your hands

Hang on a minute.

Zero germs in the work-place?

Surprise, surprise – the brass snuck in last night with a Hypersteriliser and nixed all viruses and bacteria into the Nether Void – oxidised to nothing by hydrogen peroxide mist.

Wha…?

Don’t worry, it’s strictly kosher.

The biggest issue

You see, absenteeism came up Big Time in the last management meeting. Sales down. Profits down. Too many sick leave pay-outs.

Too many sickies – period.

HR said it was normal for this time of year. But the IT guys said Them Down the Road have had nobody off – how come us and not them?

And the bean–counters said the hell with that, either the numbers come down or it’s out with the P45s.

HR panicked, but Facilities Management were on the ball.

That workshop they went on?

Scary video presented by a research heavy at the Royal Society of Public Health. Germs in the loo, germs on computer keyboards – staff picking up germs, like 10 million on their hands, every moment of every day.

Clobbering all germs

So they got a Hypersteriliser and fizzed it up. In the old workshop where the damp is? Mould on the walls, clobbered overnight. Black as coal when they started, pale grey the next morning. Wiped off with a soft brush. No smell either, normal like it should be – except it’s always freezing cold in there.

So last night, the office. The usual go-round with the vacuum cleaner/wipe-down team. Then the full-on germ-killing hit – main bullpen, meeting room and the kitchen/coffee area – forty minutes each with ionised hydrogen peroxide plasma.

All viruses and bacteria gone – annihilated from all surfaces – and even the air itself.

Yeah well, you can’t see germs, so it’s hard to tell.

The vinegar smell was gone though – who had fish and chips at their desk? And that off-chicken pong by the photocopier? No sign of that either.

Sterile start

So the day starts with zero germ threshold. Totally sterile. Anybody with an underlying medical problem? Nothing’s going to get to you this time. No picking up stuff from keyboards, phones or light switches either – no, no, norovirus, nothing there.

But everybody’s gotta wash their hands before they start. Straight in off the street, their hands will be loaded – from strap-hanging in the tube, grab-handles on the bus, the sticky jam doughnut at Starbucks. And most gruesome of all (gasp), not washing after the loo.

Shocking, yes. But – better believe it – most of us just don’t.

Which is why there’s also a pack of antiseptic hand-wipes on every desk, waiting for you.

If you’re too mad keen to get started first thing, then the wash-room can come to you. Just make sure you use them before you touch anything. It might not be you that gets e.coli – but don’t wish it on your mates.

In fact, use ’em whenever you think of it. Before finger-drool from that awesome sandwich gets all over your mouse, or fallen crumbs start gathering hungry bacteria round the edge of your in-tray.

And always after the loo, of course. Except now it’s easy – those wipes are in your face – right there as you get back to your desk.

Boosting the balance sheet

So – germs, absenteeism, checking the numbers

What goes around, comes around. Which in this case means nothing. No colds, no flu, no tummy bugs, no infected paper cuts. Sterile office and sterile fingers keep you safe – the sterile air you breath too. Bottom line looking good.

Nothing to challenge your own bacteria either – the billions and billions of good microbes we all have inside us and around us, helping our bodies keep healthy and well. Sales figures looking up too.

Any of those other germs want a return match, they’re going to lose.

High-powered job stress? More likely germs

Businesswoman with problem
Nothing feels worse
than being out of control

We know how you feel.

Everything getting to you. Tense. Uneasy. Pressure head when you least want it.

Reckon it’s the job, not you?

Come on, now. You knew the odds when you took it.

Good money, good prospects – and you can smash the glass ceiling.

Bigger than you

So what happened?

Where’s the confidence? The get-up-and-go? The sure conviction you can rule the world?

Better man up – or it’s down the tubes.

No more flying high, back to the grunt.

Not you though, is it? Always the winner. And savvy with it. Able to handle pressure. Able to handle yourself. Cool and easy with it. More than equal to the office bully. Better than your boss – who’s pushing you forward, all the time. Sure promotion material. The only way is up.

OK, so you’ve got the job taped – as long as you get over this downer.

So it’s not you either, what the heck’s going on?

Ever wondered why it’s easier at home? Why that sick, grey feeling is gone at week-ends?

There’s the clue, right there – sick.

You don’t feel sick – leastways, not out of the office. But that doesn’t mean you’re 100 per either.

Why you’re not yourself

Ever heard of sick building syndrome? You think it’s you, not coming up to the mark. You notice the lapses in concentration – but not the headaches or nausea, or shortness of breath. Too busy, giving it your all – the job’s got to get done, right? And it’s got to be competitive.

But it exists – sick building syndrome. Not a fig of people’s imaginations. Not just old buildings either. Often new ones – stylish, smart, and misery-makers for everyone who works in them.

Sometimes it’s just unlucky – like the building vibrates because of where it’s situated. The ground resonates with passing traffic and low frequency vibes play with everyone’s head. Or the Underground twangs the building foundations with every train – a shudder you feel, but can’t hear. Shaking you to bits.

More common is mould – from dampness in the walls. Not visible where you work, but in the cavities behind. Flat roof not sealed properly, leaking down from the top floor. Or condensation because the temperature insulation is too darned efficient.

Mould spores in the air, breathing problems, itchiness, feeling ratty and tired. You’re not you because of what you breathe.

Hold that thought. It’s not just you that works there, right? There’s a whole team of you, mostly in open plan. Human beings together, interacting with each other.

Outnumbered by bugs

Except there’s a lot more to human beings than you might think.

Bacteria for a start. Living naturally in our bodies and co-existing with them. So necessary, we could never survive without them. So numerous, they outnumber our own body cells more than 10 to 1.

Like several hundred trillion of them live in our gut, handling the digestive grunt our own bodies can’t. It’s where we get our gut-feel from. Our bacteria need our bodies to survive. If we’re threatened or in danger, they alert the brain. Butterflies in your tummy is a real sensation. Ignore at your peril.

It’s not just our gut either. It’s everywhere throughout ourselves – and hovering in clouds around us too. Everywhere we go, we trail a bio-cloud with us. An aura of bacteria and viruses – some good, some bad, depending on the health balance of our systems.

But of course, everybody’s different. What works for you may not work for others – and the other way around. And we’re moving around and though each other’s bio-clouds as we work – giving off our bacteria, getting others back. Sometimes bad ones – breathed in, or absorbed through the skin.

Or more than likely, ingested through the mouth or the sensitive tissue round our eyes and nose. Without realising it, every one of us touches our face 3 to 5 times a minute – 2,000 to 3,000 times a day. Whatever our hands touch can find a way in.

And our hands touch everything, don’t they? Clean, dirty, whatever – buttons, door handles, grab-handles touched by thousands of others too. And the BLT you’re about to have for lunch – because like most of us, you eat at your desk. The job’s too important to take a break – besides, it’s wet out there and all you do is spend money.

Uh huh.

Get protection

Have you washed your hands?

Bacteria from all those things you’ve touched, from your colleagues’ bio-clouds too – you can’t see them, but you can bet they’re on your hands. Transferred to your BLT before you’ve even taken a swallow.

Are you lucky, or unlucky? Because even lurking on your own desk is the chance to catch anything from colds and flu to norovirus, e.coli, MRSA, c.difficile or worse. Knock you out for a few days, or even put you in hospital. Worst case scenario, make you dead.

Uh huh, again.

So if you want to get your mojo back, better do something.

OK, you can’t wash your hands every five seconds – it’s impractical and you’ve got to stay with the action. Projects to sort, phones to answer, conversations to jump into. You’re one of the decision-takers, a hands-on honcho who mustn’t miss a trick.

Step one, keep a pack of antibacterial hand-wipes on your desk. They take off goo better than gel and can sanitise your desk too in just a jiffy. No more germs on your hands, your BLT is safe.

So how about the bio-clouds? Every night when you all go home, some of everybody’s bacteria signature lingers in the air, waiting for you tomorrow. If there’s a bug to catch in that lot, you’re at hazard, even if the carrier has moved to the other end of the country.

Hyper high-powered

Step two, strong-arm the boss into getting a Hypersteriliser. Your nightly protection when the office closes.

Any viruses or bacteria – in the air, or on surfaces – is oxidised to nothing by the fine mist of ionised hydrogen peroxide that gets in everywhere – even cracks and crevices. Walk in next morning and the whole place is sterile – no bugs anywhere, totally safe.

Wanna bet you feel better after that?

For sure.

And feeling good does things to your performance too. Builds optimism. Pumps up confidence. Inspires you more than anything else on the planet.

Stress, what stress?

From now on, everything’s a doddle.

Spotless workplace, but always down with bugs?

Tensed woman
It’s what you CAN’T see that’s the problem

Posh new prem, all spiffy glass and chrome.

So it can’t be sick building syndrome. Or can it?

Incredibly, up to half of new and renovated buildings can have this problem – an unwanted and unexpected side effect in creating a green, airtight thermo-efficient environment.

Mould inside the walls – from moisture trapped there, in sealed air gaps. Or weak air circulation, underpowered lighting, external vibration – from tube lines under the basement.

Invisible threats

Can’t be – the place is brand spanking new, built by a top designer, no expense spared. How come?

Somehow germs have got in and they’re not going away – staff are down with flu and tummy bugs, over and over again.

The cleaning team are on the case and keep the place immaculate – floors always vacuumed, waste carefully removed, surfaces wiped with antiseptic solution.

So why isn’t that good enough? How do those rotten bugs keep coming?

Two things.

Just because the place LOOKS clean doesn’t mean it is. And most of the time, even a deep clean does only 20% of the job. (Tweet this)

Too many bad guys

You can’t see germs, but they’re all over the place, everywhere. Our own bodies are host to more than 100 trillion of them – and we drag them around in a bio-cloud wherever we go – viruses and bacteria, good guys and bad guys – mostly good.

The key word is “everywhere” – on us, inside us, around us, underneath us, behind us.

Now pause just a second, and remember how things operate.

Last week, right? A whole mob of you in the conference room, big planning session with the guys in the Paris and New York offices, online in the same meeting. Mammoth session, all day non-stop and into the smally wee hours. Big wow factor, kept alive by pizza and coffee.

Uh huh, and the cleaning team made it look like the place had never been used. Amazing.

Imperfect perfectionists

Except, did they clean UNDER the conference table? The actual underside? And did they do under the chairs – everybody fiddled with the swivel and backrest knobs, when were they last ever looked at?

How about the video projector, slung from the ceiling – 20 people in the room for 18 hours, wouldn’t there be gunge up there?

Come to that, how about the air itself? 20 people for 18 hours – each with a germ cloud of minimum 3 billion microbes – around two thousand billion viruses and bacteria that weren’t there before, all able to survive up to 7 days and more.

Floating on the air, lurking, waiting – in 80% of the room space. Untouched by the very efficient surface wipe-clean and vacuum. Still there days later, circulating round in the HVAC system – set to warm for the great British summer, perfect for germ reproduction.

Cough, sneeze, run for the loo.

And not surprising. The place looks clean, but isn’t.

Start with you

Same as your hands. Polished nails, beautifully manicured, not a mark on them.

But when did you last wash them?

Out of sight, out of mind, huh? Except germs are so small, they’re out of sight IN PLAIN VIEW – untouched and thriving right in front of our noses.

OK, hands you can fix, with soap and water – always after the loo and always before eating.

And the workplace you can fix too, with a Hypersteriliser.

After the wipe-down from the cleaning squad, it hits the germs with an ionised spray of hydrogen peroxide. While all of you lot are home watching telly – or partying like mad because the conference job beat all records.

The stuff spreads everywhere because its microscopic particles are charged – actively pushing to escape from each other through the air, rushing up and out into every crack and crevice. The same charge snatches at viruses and bacteria on the fly – all of them – oxidising them to oblivion.

40 minutes later – depending on room-size – zero germ threshold, totally bio-neutral.

Totally safe too.

No residual chemicals, no residual germs. Your immaculate workplace ready for all of you, with no carry-over from yesterday.

Same thing in a sick building, though it can’t fix the lighting or the Underground.

No more sniffles? That’s more like it!

Time to get back to ruling the world.