First UNEQUAL pay, now TOO MUCH sick leave – how misreading women makes business losses snowball

Unfair to women
Being sick at work is bad enough, no wonder women are sick of the attitude

Women are right to be furious. Because what is British business becoming, a misogynists’ bean-feast?

Hard on the scandal of unequal pay for women come fingers pointing at disproportionate sick leave.

“An additional 2.8 million days of absenteeism more than men in the past three months alone, ” according to a report. 19.8 million days lost, versus  17 million.

How shocking. How disgraceful.

Unequal everything

You can feel the prejudices kicking in, can’t you?

All those clichés about headaches, period pains and emotional upsets. Easy to misread when your own most regular health distress is likely to be a hangover.

Oh sure, some issues are serious.

A gastric attack like norovirus is no joke. Neither is flu, especially the H1N1 variety – hovering at the edge of pneumonia and just waiting to do you in.

Yeah, men can suffer these too. But never any of the other anguish that comes from being a woman.

Which puts management understanding of women’s wellbeing about on a par with that hangover. A minor issue to be suffered in silence against the unbreakable discipline of being at one’s desk.

Uh huh.

And does management ever consider the QUALITY of such work with a pounding head or churning stomach? How good that might be for business?

Multiply that hangover several times over for period pain – especially if accompanied by dysmenorrhoea, the days of spasms experienced by many women on both sides of it.

Boiled knitting syndrome

Now try to give full attention to that sales meeting. Or input that critical figure with the decimal point in the right place. Or respond to that crucial client request so easily glossed over in a telephone call.

Just a few hours being unwell at one’s desk can cost thousands. Far more than the salary days lost staying at home in bed. A whole million pound contract and more – down the tubes with a phone call, a missing staple, a misstyped computer key.

So what kind of a manager allows a staff member to influence business when they’re not capable? As long as everybody’s at their desk, who’s going to notice that productivity’s gone for a ball of chalk?

Sod’s Law, isn’t it? Everything drags its heels. Processing gets continually stuck in the works. A job that should take five days takes ten. The wheels keep coming off.

And all because they’re women. Look, that one there, holding her head.

Sure, she has a string of degrees as long as your arm, passed out top of her class at business school – but what kind of asset can ANYBODY  be when their brain is like boiled knitting?

Take time off – it’s better for business

So OK, women have to take off more days than men.

Let them do it. Insist on it.

Because yes, it’s scary that absenteeism costs the country £29 billion a year.

What’s even scarier is that the cost of presenteeism – being unwell at work – is TEN TIMES HIGHER. As you can work out for yourself in your own business, here.

You see, though the bean counter’s perspective is that staff assets are supposed to perform according to their salary package 100% of the time – reality is that they’re off-colour for 25% of it, experiencing pain or nagging discomfort roughly every three days.

And that’s men as well as women. Except men tough it out more often – increasing the opportunity for mistakes and oversights. Women know better.

Which makes paying for sick leave the easy bit.

Nobody imagines picking up the tab for a string of omissions, errors or misdeals. But that’s what most businesses do, every day of the year. Written off as inevitable – when it’s unthinking management that is really to blame.

Pilots and bus drivers aren’t allowed to fly or drive drunk. But that’s what staff do when they try to function while ill at work. And management encourage it instead of sending them home.

Paying for mistakes, how smart is that?

OK, so the business may not crash and burn like a 747. But unaware and unseen, profitability takes a hit out of all proportion to the perceived economy of insisting staff are all at work all the time.

Especially with women.

Naturally more caring and sympathetic than men – more customer responsive and sensitive to needs. Biologically built that way.

And management wants to pay them less?

AND penalise them for days off because of who they are?

Like we said, a misogynists’ bean-feast.

Lets hope for sake of all of us that more women get through that glass ceiling soon.

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Originally posted on 3 August 2017 @ 2:38 pm

Originally posted on 3 August 2017 @ 2:38 pm

Our £319 BILLION productivity ball and chain

Productivity ball and chain
Unseen and unrecognised: the £319 billion unwellness issues holding productivity back

Why does British productivity keep dragging its heels? Because £319 billion of health issues are holding us back.

All the other things – lagging investment, ageing infrastructure, accelerating technology, diminishing experience and ever-younger staff – they’re all fixable, usually by throwing money at them.

But an unwell work force is not even on management radar.

Workers’ wellbeing yes, fitness packages, health advice and feelgood incentives are all over the place.

£319 billion of wheelspin

But £319 billion of unwell costs? Is anybody looking? Do they even know it exists?

Because that kind of money is not chickenfeed. More like ten times our defence budget. Three times the Brexit get-out bill. Two-and-a-half times the NHS budget.

And still nobody’s twigging it.

Management, government and consultants are all gung-ho, demanding full throttle. Meanwhile we’re still shackled to the wall, brakes hard on and going nowhere – the least performing economy among leading G7 countries. Lots of noise, but just wheelspin.

You see, £319 billion is the all-up cost of being unwell among work staff.  £29 billion for absenteeism. And £290 billion of presenteeism – people not well, but going to work anyway, a growing measure of wonky job security.

Wonky?

Oh yes.

Since 2008 and the financial crash, absenteeism has been falling steadily, down around 20%. Good, right?

We wish.

Rising costs

Presenteeism however, already 10 times greater – is on the increase.  Exactly how much is hard to calculate. Staff are reluctant to admit they have a condition, even to themselves . Many are convinced showing weakness could cost their jobs. So they tough it out, pretending otherwise.

We’ve all been there, to some level or other. Choosing to go to work with a cold, instead of staying home. We won’t get paid and it could be a black mark. Better than finding a replacement’s been hired while you weren’t at your desk.

So we go to work anyway, dosed up to the eyeballs. Day Nurse or something like it – so concentration is a bit loopy, there’s maybe a headache, blurred vision, ringing in the ears and we’re irritable as all hell.

Brains not working

Not exactly the best way to ensure proper service and attention to detail. A trap  for making mistakes or oversights too. And isn’t it a drag that everything takes so long?

Oh, and yes. We sneeze and throw tissues around, so our colleagues come down with it too. Or failing that, the HVAC system stirs our germs, upholding equal opportunity.

Or maybe it’s not a cold, but something worse. Flu, or a tummy bug, picked up from one of those high-touch surfaces around the office – door handle or light switch, or the START button on the photocopier.

Out of order minds

You can see it, can’t you? We’re not ourselves when we’re not well.  And most of us wind up with some kind of issue – minor injury, sprain, cut, infection, or food reaction every three days.

Hardly surprising either , when you realise how lax workplace hygiene can be:

Our personal hygiene is pretty lax too – we can’t see germs, so we think we’re OK. Meanwhile:

All of which is how come presenteeism is as high as it is – an average of 57.5 days a year, almost three working months. A quarter of a year lost to unfocused and non-concentrating minds – some ball and chain!

Which of course is why productivity is continually as low as it is. Businesses are paying for a full twelve months’ performance, but staff are only capable of delivering nine.

Knock-on effect

On top of that is the knock-on effect from errors and omissions made while unwell at work. A lot of money and a lot of time, with often below-standard levels of quality.

One heck of an issue not to be aware of – and one heck a lot of money to lose without realising it. The elephant is in the room, but nobody has recognised it yet – all £319 billion of it.

And fixing is just as invisible. Getting rid of germs is push-button easy for around the same cost as daily charring – a demonstration to staff that management actively cares  for their health AND wellbeing.

But it needs an attitude shift to capitalise on it.

Stay away

The workplace might be germ-free and sterile, but it has to be kept that way. If staff pick up an illness from outside, no matter how small, they should be encouraged to stay away. Because they spread germs that colleagues can catch. And because in their germified state, they contaminate everything they touch.

Encouraging a stay-away reassures staff, protects colleagues and promotes goodwill all round. And anyway, with flexible working, being out of the office is no longer as critical as it was. If staff REALLY have to participate, they can log on remotely from home. Though the understanding should be that if they’re not well, they’re not well – and being released from work responsibility is a function of getting better.

Starting engagement

Understanding and sympathising  with staff is in any case, a crucial component of engaging with them. They could equally be working from home because of a bus strike, or handling a personal issue – children’s needs at school, handling a home breakdown, going to a funeral.

Because germs are only one of the reasons staff are unwell at work. Stress is another, all too often also unaddressed by management. But getting rid of germs buys a lot of time – remember the default is nine months’ productivity instead of twelve – management can afford to be accommodating.

Time changes everything

Which is exactly what stress needs – time. Time to listen and time to interact.

Much of the anguish of stress at work is relieved by voluntarily giving an audience – listening to problems, complaints and suggestions before they become issues. They might not be big in the scheme of things, but in the head of the staff member troubled by them, they can be monsters.

And time is there to buy good will. No longer refused or grudgingly granted just this once. Now it’s possible to give away without loss – reclaimed from the missing 3 months productivity forgotten  and unrecognised until now. And all started by pressing a button to get rid of germs.

No holding back now, productivity should be free to advance however is required. Bye-bye ball and chain. Oh, and no more £319 billion price tag either.

As we said in a previous post, watch out world!

About this blog

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi. Achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. The only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Originally posted on 5 December 2017 @ 4:50 pm

Get a third more from your staff without paying any extra – and they’ll love you for it

Counting the pennies
It’s money you’ve already spent – but you get it back with interest. Full staff effort 100% of the time, everybody motivated and going for it

Good staff, are they? All solid professionals.

Worth every penny that you pay them.

If only you were  getting full value.

You’re not, you know. And here’s why.

You’ve allowed for holidays, right? And probably around six days sick leave.

Yes, that’s about a month off, because you’re understanding and reasonable – part of the cost of doing business.

But you’ve left out the rest.

Those days when they’re not feeling all that hot. Scratchy throat maybe – a headache and a sniffle. Or a churning gut ache that has them running to the loo.

The unwell-at-work overhead

Yes, but they’re pros. Committed and going for it.

So they force themselves to work, come what may. Clenched teeth and popping paracetamol – but at their desks and determined. A compliment to your motivational skills.

Better ask yourself though, how productive they are, feeling like that. Up to speed, yes. But struggling to keep going – battling to keep focus, cross-eyed following detail.

Sure you recognise the symptoms – you’ve been there yourself. You’re at work, but not really – underpowered and you know it, going through the motions.

Presenteeism, it’s called. Being unwell at work. Like absenteeism, but way more common. Up to 57.5 days a year, according to a GCC study validated by the World Health Organization. Almost ten times more than days off sick, nearly three working months.

And that’s the average.

Bottom line on salaries – you’re paying for twelve months on every staff member. But in actual productivity, you’re only getting nine.

Sloppy work costs money

That’s not all you’re paying for either.

There’s the quality of work and the consequences of not being fully alert. Mistakes get made when staff aren’t on the ball. Deadlines get missed, customers get second best, service standards slip – the costs can be ginormous.

You can’t penalise your staff though. Being unwell is a fact of life. It’s not their fault. Or yours either.

Actually, without pussy-footing around, probably both of you are to blame.

All you have to ask is, why? Why are staff unwell at work?

For staff members, ten-to-one it’s a lapse of hygiene. Most if not all minor illnesses are caused by dirty hands – or transmitted to hands in a dirty environment. Trouble is, since germs are so small they’re invisible, our hands don’t LOOK dirty, even when they are.

Which kind of explains why:

It also underlines the harsh reality – that most minor illnesses, colds, flu, tummy bugs, etc – are all self-inflicted.

Better hygiene, or lose money

OK, you can’t force staff into better habits. But put bottles of antibacterial gel or handy wipes on every desk where they can’t miss them, and the problem should reduce big time.

That’s not all though, because it’s you who provides the workplace. Part of your duty of care is to ensure staff are safe when they’re in there. From germs – as well as hot and cold, dark conditions and pelting rain.

It is the law, for instance, to protect staff from legionnaire’s disease – just one kind of bacteria out of the billions we are exposed to every day. Neglect this, and you could be heavily fined, possibly even go to prison.

And there’s plenty of other germs that are just as inconvenient or deadly.

Salmonella, norovirus, campylobacter or e.coli are all stomach bugs easily picked up off light switches, door handles, keyboards or touch screens. Catch one of them in your workplace and your entire staff could be down for days.

There’s also the air that staff breathe – 80% of the space within the workplace that never gets cleaned – most cleaning services just don’t have the capability. Yet workplace air is how bugs like colds and flu transfer – not forgetting legionnaire’s disease.

And there’s always germs to pick up. Our own body cells are outnumbered by colonised bacteria more than ten times over – and every one of us trails our own “signature” cloud of germs around with us.

All change, all win

Get rid of the germs and the whole ballgame changes.

If staff aren’t exposed to germs, they can’t get sick. They don’t take days off – and they don’t drag themselves into work unwell, fumbling through their jobs and infecting their colleagues. At a stroke, those 57.5 days of presenteeism – almost three working months – no longer happen.

You get 100% of your staff, 100% of the time – a whole third up on the 75% of the time you get now.

So how’s it done?

Quite simply, by sterilising the place. Oxidising all germs to oblivion so they’re harmless. All bacteria, all viruses, all fungi, all moulds – gone.

Your own cleaning service can do it, on top of their usual schedule after staff have gone home.  Simply mist the place up with hydrogen peroxide and the deed is done. No germs anywhere, your staff are safe.

And safe means secure. Staff feel confident. They’re healthy and well, full of energy and go. They WANT to do things, to achieve, to excel. Like endorphins kicking in after a session at the gym, they respond to the feel-good of being up and ready for anything.

They love their job, they love their colleagues, they love you.

Double or quits

So it’s your choice.

Stay as you are now and hope your staff keep healthy. Or make sure there’s no doubt of it and win yourself a third more productivity with your existing resources – absolutely free.

More productivity, minimal cost and everybody motivated.

Makes you think how all that drive and commitment would look on your balance sheet, hey?

Picture Copyright: jayfish / 123RF Stock Photo

Productivity boost: our £290 billon antidote for presenteeism

Chasing profits
£290 billion – the cost to UK of being unwell at work. Make that go away and you’re chasing big bucks

It’s ours, and it’s right in front of us. A whole £290 billion worth.

Unwell at work costs out the door. Everybody up and going flat out. About as efficient as it’s ever going to get. Every penny of everyone’s salary working for you.

Not actually the end of presenteeism – that dicey compulsion to be at work instead of staying sick in bed. More like a sidestep – an effective way to avoid it.

Germ avoidance – Workplace Hygiene 101

Antidote, yes.

Because you can’t be unwell at work if you don’t get sick in the first place.

Yeah, right. So where does the £290 billion come in? If that’s the kind of money we’re saving, how come every business in the country isn’t bankrupt already?

Because all the time, they’re absorbing that cost. The invisible overhead disguised as part of salary appropriations. Like absentee costs but worse – the sick costs which business experts PwC calculate at £29 million a year.

The CIPD spell it out further – reckoning on a median cost for absence due to sickness of £522 per employee over 6 days per year – depending on the activity sector. Basically £87 per staff member per  day.

Ah, but absenteeism is a small fraction.

Unwell at work – the biggest money drain

The real overhead is in presenteeism – paying out for all those days that staff underperform by coming to work unwell. Ten times more according to a GCC study validated by the World Health Organization. A staggering 57.5 days a year – almost three working months.

OK, so ten times £29 billion is £290 billion – the cost to the nation of all those days struggling through the work day at half-power. The all-up sickness cost is even more if you add absenteeism – £319 billion. But with this kind of saving to make, who’s counting?

So now we have your attention with these megabuck figures, what’s the big breakthrough solution?

Like we said, avoidance. Protecting staff from becoming ill in the first place. An antidote.

Up front we have to say that nothing can be done outside business. People will pick up bugs wherever their lives take them and there’s not a lot we can do about it out there.

Indoor health protection

It’s a different story at work. Because it’s indoors, the whole environment is enclosed. A double-edged sword if you think about it. Staff all share the same space, breathe the same air. If any one of them goes down with something – they all can.

But you don’t let them.

Every night when the cleaning crew come in, you add a new element to the schedule.

Sterilising.

On top of cleaning desks, emptying bins and vacuuming, the whole place is rendered germ-free. Viruses, bacteria, mould and fungi eliminated by oxidising with hydrogen peroxide.

Next morning, when staff come in, the workplace is safe and sterile. No germs to catch or pass around. No chance to fall ill. Part of your duty of care – like making sure they’re warm and dry, with proper ventilation, and light to work by.

Required by law

Part of your legal commitment too, if you consider legionnaire’s disease – just one bacteria out of billions, but a potentially lethal one. As an employer, you are responsible for protecting staff from this nasty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 – which makes you liable should any of them fall ill.

You can relax though. As a bacteria, airborne legionnaire’s disease is destroyed just as thoroughly as all others. To a 6-Log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of all germs obliterated. The antidote in action.

Your staff might still fall ill – but not at work. With the germ threshold reduced to zero every night, there’s not much chance to. Nor will they sit there battling with ailments =- aches and pains and tummy cramps and stuff. They’re back to being 100%, pretty well all of the time.

Laughing all the way…

57.5 days of under-powered output that will save you – almost three working months. Which if we’ve done our sums right restores a third more productivity out of nowhere, all on the same salary.

Not bad for an antidote, hey?

Now what will you do with your share of £290 billion?

Picture Copyright: alphaspirit / 123RF Stock Photo

Stop workplace germs – and buy a whole new NHS (twice over)

Twin doctors
Double value. More time, more beds, better treatment – make workplace germs go away and NHS problems go away too

Relax, stop worrying. We really can have a whole new NHS twice over – just by eliminating workplace germs.

Big numbers?

Sure.

Which just shows you how much money leaks away when germs get the upper hand.

Get ready for some jaw-dropping math.

According to the NHS’s own figures, planned expenditure for 2016/17 is £120.611bn.  On top of which is the current deficit – a whopping £2.45 billion.

Black hole, about to go away

Put the two together, and you get £123.061 billion.

Double it, and that comes to £246.122 billion.

OK, so putting the NHS to one side for a moment, how about this?

The fact that being sick off work costs British employers a monumental £29 billion, according to business experts PWC.

And even worse, that “presenteeism” – when people are unwell but come to work anyway – costs TEN TIMES that – a mind-boggling £290 billion.

More than double present NHS bankroll needs – with around £44 billion in change – about what British businesses pay in corporation tax.

Uh huh.

Reaching for the impossible

So what kind of magic wand would it take to disappear Britain’s combined off sick and unwell at work costs? Impossible, right?

Not exactly.

Sure, it’s not just germs that make people take off sick – or struggle through the working day. There’s musculoskeletal problems, like back pain and neck ache. Stress, depression and mental anguish. All medical, but not germ-related.

But around 85% of us agree that the major cause of working life grief is minor ailments. Colds, flu, tummy bugs, that sort of thing.

And 85% of £290 billion is..?

You guessed it, £246 billion. The cost of launching a whole new NHS twice over – all caused by germs.

Which says, stop the germs – and we stop £246 billion every year going down the plughole.

Basically impossible, right?

WRONG!

All hyped up, safe and secure

By misting up workplaces daily with ionised hydrogen peroxide after staff have gone home – all viruses and bacteria are eliminated, oxidised to nothing.

Next morning, when staff come in, the whole place is sterile. To a Log-6 Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% germs gone.

Yeah OK, people bring in fresh germs with them. On their skin and clothing, from whatever they might have wrong with them – and their own personal germ cloud.

But the germ threshold is zero at start the day, so any cross-contamination is minimised. Fewer germs to catch, less chance of feeling off colour – productivity nudges closer to 100%.

Press button easy

And the miracle machine that does all this?

It’s not a miracle at all, it’s a Hypersteriliser. A wheelie-bin sized automatic unit that ensures maximum dispersal of safe, low concentration, germ-killing hydrogen peroxide – the same stuff our own bodies produce to fight infection.

And it spreads across all surfaces and behind them, into all cracks and crevices, and throughout all airspace. Actively forced there by electrostatic charge.

Contact time for destroying germs is only seconds, though dispersal does take time, depending on room size. Forty minutes usually, and you’re done. The whole place is sterile.

Clawing money back from germs

Which neatly plugs productivity losses caused by absenteeism and presenteeism together. Effectively releasing one-third more work capability without extra cost.

The trick now of course is to persuade employers to donate all this money to the NHS.

They can certainly afford it.

And with sick leave absences down by 85%, the demands on the system will be so much less too. Shorter waiting times in A&E. More beds available. Adequate time for intricate surgery. Generous time for recovery under care.

So if a staff member does go down with something, they’ll be treated quicker and back sooner.  And that goes for all the other ailments too. The musculoskeletal jobbies and that lot. Because we’re all of us susceptible.

Including that heavyweight MD with the bad back that puts her out of action three days in ten. There’s a whole new NHS waiting ready to look after her. In fact, two for the price of one.

And hello, hello, the doctor WILL see her now.

Picture Copyright: citalliance / 123RF Stock Photo

Yours now: the sky-high profits of germ dodging

Rick exec
With everyone closer to full strength 100% of the time, you’re laughing all the way to the bank

Yes, profits.

Big money gains.

Though strictly it’s clawing back money you’ve already spent.

More accurately, winning back proper value for it – instead of the zero you get now.

Money lost to germs – which affects every business. Every organisation come to that. Everywhere that people work together – exposed to communal ailments and frequently insecure environments.

It’s the germs that make them insecure. Microscopically small and out of sight, so you never think they’re there.

Take a look at the number of staff with coughs and sniffles though. Or the ones holding their tummies when they think you’re not looking.

The scourge of presenteeism

Get the picture?

They’re your walking wounded. The ones who feel like death from some bug or infection. But drag themselves into work anyway. Stressed about work load, or letting down their colleagues, or even if their job is safe if they don’t pitch up.

Yes, they should be home on sick leave. But they’re tougher than that.

So they’re at their desks, going through the motions. Risking their colleagues to the same bugs they have. Working at half power or worse. Making mistakes. Missing out on detail. Ratty with suppliers. Grumpy with customers. More liability than asset.

We’ve all been there. Not absent from work, but present and struggling. Well-intentioned but causing grief for ourselves and everyone we work with. It’s the scourge of presenteeism.

57.5 days a year we’re like that, according to research. Ten times the number of sick days we actually do take off. Nearly three working months.

All at full salary – but nothing like full value.

Never thought of it like that? That you’re paying for all those days but not getting them?

Getting your own back

Suppose you could get them back? Claw back their value?

Because right now, you’re only getting nine months’ worth for every twelve you pay salaries for.

Reclaim that lot – or at least a large chunk of it – and you could increase productivity by a third. One third up on where you are now. And absolutely free, because you’ve already paid for it.

Worth a bob or two, no?

One third of your all-up salary allocation. Up there in the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands. As you can see for yourself on our cost of workplace illness calculator.

OK, so how does it work? Is it actually possible to reduce workplace germs  so you see an improvement in profits?

Winning the germ war

A small wheelie-bin sized Hypersteriliser machine will do it. Eradicate ALL germs in your workplace after everyone’s gone home. Present completely sterile surroundings for them to step into in the morning.

It works by misting the place up with the mildest solution of ionised hydrogen peroxide. The same stuff our own bodies produce to prevent infection through open wounds and cuts.

The ionising spreads it everywhere – across all surfaces, into all cracks and crevices. And because it’s airborne – throughout the whole room space, which normally never gets touched. 80% of the germ-load, right there.

Viruses and bacteria don’t stand a chance. The electrostatically charged hydrogen peroxide grabs at them like a magnet, oxidising them to oblivion. Oxygen atoms rip their cell structure apart. No way any of them are coming back.

No germs, no chance for staff to get sick. At least not from the workplace – which as the media continually remind us, can be full of more germs than a toilet.

Safe inside

It won’t protect against germs from outside either of course. The ones lurking on the escalator handrail, or exploding over everyone in a sneeze on the Central Line. Outside there’s germs everywhere – on lift buttons, touchscreens, keys, light switches, money.

But at least inside, your people are safe. Where the germ threshold is zero, except for what they bring in on their skin and clothing. Or what they try to hide behind their handkerchiefs.

Unfortunately though, you can’t help everyone. Like the ones with injuries, or muscular problems, or lingering non-infecting conditions like IBS. Though germ dodging will surely help their already challenged immune systems.

The profit margin

So is it worth doing?

If you haven’t already tried the calculator, get it from the experts. According to top business consultants PWC, the cost of absenteeism in the UK is around £29 billion annually.

With presenteeism running at ten times that, that’s a bill to British businesses of £290 billion. So even if you only recover half that, you’re ahead by several thousand.

Maybe enough to consider bonuses, or maybe bankrolling those projects you’ve never had cash for, until now.

Plus there’s the feel-good factor – the elusive motivator that all those workplace wellness programmes try so hard to offer. Productivity plus-plus.

Sure, it’s nice to have gym membership, company flu jabs, feng shui inspired lighting and fresh apples in reception. But nothing works better than knowing the body is good and healthy, full of positive vibes, committed and eager.  Feeling like a super-performer and wanting to go for it.

You see what we mean by profits?

Everybody gains, everybody wins, everybody feels good – what germ dodging does.

Which means the sky’s the limit.

*Credit where it’s due. This is not the first time we’ve made mention of it, so we do need to express our big thanks. As always, we’re grateful to business experts PWC, whose insightful absenteeism figures are the whole reason our modest little venture can exist.

Picture Copyright: auremar / 123RF Stock Photo

Like it or not, workplace germs already cost you thousands

Horrified Exec Lady
Shock, horror – and you’re already paying for what all these germs do without knowing it

Yes, thousands. And thousands.

Not just in sick pay either.  That necessary staying at home from some bug picked up at the office.

According to CIPD figures, most of us are absent only 6 days off a year – just over a working week.

Not cheap at around £522 per person on average – though that’s in the private sector. Public sector absenteeism balloons closer to double at £835 – across the board costing the country a whacking £29 billion a year.

Presenteeism magabucks

Scary, but chickenfeed alongside the productivity loss of coming to work unwell.

Because according a GCC report validated against the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Workplace Health and Productivity Questionnaire (HPQ), people who come to work unwell trigger costs of 10 times more.

Yes, that includes all of us, dragging ourselves into work unwell over 57.5 days a year. Almost THREE WORKING MONTHS of going through the motions, being less than we are.  Sometimes even so low, a rookie could do our job better.

Which means we’re talking big number thousands. Because effectively everyone enjoys a full year’s salary, but only delivers nine months’ worth of full productivity. With staggering cost implications, as you can see on our calculator here.

Reclaim productivity

Makes it worth doing something about it, doesn’t it?

Because if everybody’s only able to deliver nine months worth of full power, that’s a whole THIRD of their combined salaries that could be pumped into EXTRA productivity. Clobber the cause – and it’s yours FREE.

So how do you fix unwellness at work? Stop it happening in the first place.

OK, you can’t stop all of it. But you can prevent a major chunk.

Obviously some illnesses are picked up outside. With billions of germs and billions of people out there, we inevitably get unlucky sometimes.

Long term conditions are exceptions too. Back problems, muscular difficulties and afflictions like IBS might never go away. It’s tough on those who suffer with them, but they’re mostly adept at living with them. But it kinda rewrites the rules on those who insist on coming to work sick.

Clobbering common illnesses

It’s the short term minor jobbies that are most common. Like the adenovirus that recently knocked out the Queen for three weeks. Difficult to focus on anything when you’re coughing yourself dizzy with fatigue.

That’s right, infections. Colds, flu, tummy bugs, we all know them. And we all persuade ourselves we can handle them when we know we can’t. So we lie to ourselves and come to work anyway. Not really capable, way underproductive, and spreading our germs around all our colleagues.

That is, our own germs on top of all those already there. Because when was the last time our workplaces were treated to prevent them, if ever? And how effective was it beyond wiping the place down with bleach and hoping for the best?

Meanwhile our own desks harbour millions of germs that never even get thought about. So do all the objects that all of us expose ourselves to – lift buttons, keypads, touchscreens, light switches, door handles. It’s a wonder we’re only under-par for three working months.

Getting our own back

Yet germs we CAN do something about. But not with conventional rubbing and scrubbing. First it’s expensive and time-consuming, doing everything by hand. Second, it doesn’t reach everywhere, so the germs can easily come back. Ask anyone who’s had norovirus on a cruise ship.

But germs are everywhere. We even carry our own personal germ clouds around with us – both protective and benign – and most of the time we’re immune to them.

OK, so take ourselves out of the equation and do the deed when the workplace is empty and we’re all safely home. Take down the germs after hours.

And because germs are everywhere, whatever we do needs to reach everywhere. All the surfaces, all the nooks and crannies, underneath and behind things – and through the air itself, which is 80% of any room space.

The hydrogen peroxide takedown

Only one way to do that – with an airborne mist that actively spreads everywhere, forcing itself to disperse outwards. And having reached everywhere, it has to be effective too – taking down viruses and bacteria in the minimum contact time. More efficient than the several minutes that bleach needs.

All easier than you think with a Hypersteriliser.

Press one button and its ionised hydrogen peroxide spreads everywhere. Forty minutes is all it takes. After which all germs are gone. 99.9999% destroyed, to a 6-log Sterility Assurance Level.

Next morning, the team comes in – and the place is safe, sterile, secure. No germs to catch because there aren’t any. Plus the feelgood of being healthy and knowing it. Positive vibes and endorophins kicking in to motivate everyone out of their everyday inertia.

Which is not just saving thousands, its making them. Thousands and thousands more than you’re making now. And good business sense.

Because you’re not going to a let a bunch of germs get away with it, are you?

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Sussed the REAL cost of staff unwell at work yet?

Woman seething steam
You’re paying 12 months’ salary, you’re getting 9 months’ value – the rest gets siphoned away by workplace germs

Sure, sure, Frank’s head feels like boiled knitting, but he’s there at his desk. Unwell as all hell but committed and going for it. A good, reliable trouper.

Also unfortunately, doing more harm than good. More liability than asset.

Because how can anyone focus with a head like boiled knitting? Be alert and watchful, ready for advantage? Or sharp as a razor, alive to the possibilities of somebody pulling a fast one?

And how about detail? Remembering procedure? Recording every step so there’s no comebacks? Good, reliable and watching your back?

Productivity down the drain

Not likely to be happening is it? Which could actually cost a lot of money. Especially if mistakes are involved – big ones as well as small ones. Or opportunities are not followed up. None of which would happen if he booked off sick. Send him home!

Which would make it one of the six days a year that EVERY staff member books off absent,  according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Not the full story about being unwell at work though, hey?

Including yourself, there’s loads more – affecting every one of your team. Ignoring that cold because there’s work piling up. Living with those stomach cramps. Grinding teeth against the pounding head, determined not to give up.

Yes, but not performing at 100% either. Sometimes more like 40%.

The HR people call it “presenteeism” – people who drag themselves into work feeling like death. Worried about work load, or imposing on colleagues, or even job security.

Which accounts for 10 times more than absenteeism says a GCC report approved by the WHO.

Nearly 60 days, the equivalent of THREE WORKING MONTHS. 66 days if you include the 6 days off as well.

Losing out on full value

So effectively every salary in the place is only for nine months out of twelve. Nine months at full productivity and top performance. Three months of iffy, erratic going through the motions.

All of which means remove the CAUSE of workplace unwell-ness, and you increase productivity by a third. Not for just one staff member, but ALL of them. The equivalent of one third extra trained and motivated staff. All FREE, because everybody’s salary is a full 12 months, not 9 – already paid for.

And the major cause of unwell-ness?

Catching a germ. Coming down with some bug that makes people feel lousy without forcing them into their beds. Not taking time off to make it get better. Spreading it around so everyone else catches it too. Suddenly snowballing the presenteeism cost from one person to many.

So what is the real presenteeism cost?

For an average salary of around £22,000, you can reckon on over £6,000 per staff member per year. Or if you want to be more accurate, here’s a calculator to work out your own figures.

Restoring the balance

Plus of course, you need to add in make-good for all the mistakes, omissions and fumbled passes that team members might make while they’re feeling off colour. Which in a worst case scenario could easily wind up at over £32,000 for a single staff member.

Fortunately, most of this is fixable. You CAN claim an extra third productivity at no extra cost.

By being a top level workplace guardian and eliminating germs in the workplace. And believe us, there’s plenty germs there. When news is slack, newspapers bring us reports like this several times a year.

OK, there’s still going to be people with bad backs, or battling with depression, or living with pregnancies. Lots of people have underlying conditions they just have to live with.

But even they can benefit from having no germs around. Take away the minor ailments and people feel good. Like endorphins kicking in after a gym session – without the cost of gym membership.

Press the button

And easy peasy too, just by pressing a button.

The one on a machine called a Hypersteriliser – a portable, fully automatic gadget that mists up the place after everyone’s gone home. Whoosh, all viruses and bacteria are oxidised to nothing. Forty minutes later, the whole place is sterile.

First thing in the morning, people clock in to a germ-free workplace. No germs, no unwell-ness, 100% productivity.

You’re the workplace guardian, you’ve protected their health – Priority One before all the other feel-good things you’ve put in place.

Now how healthy would that look on your balance sheet?

This post takes inspiration from a report on workplace guardians that appeared in Facilities Management Journal. Well done, gals and guys. Looks like we’re all about to save a lot of money.

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One-third extra staff – FREE

Business team walking
When they’re well they deliver 100% – and now they can give a third extra

It’s called making the impossible possible. Extra staff at no extra cost. People you already know and trust. Already familiar with how you work and committed to it.

Even better, they’re your EXISTING staff, already in place and going for it. The difference is, they’re available to you full time – beyond the regular hours they serve at the moment.

Your best assets – used to the full

Yes, you’re already paying them – so yes, they’re already in your budget.

It’s just that now – without it costing you a bean more – those same staff can deliver much greater value for money. Specifically, another third of their time. The third you’re not currently getting because they’re off sick, or struggling with an unwell feeling at their desks.

Six days a year is the average time staff are absent because they’re sick.

But every year for ten times longer than that – in what the HR people call “presenteeism” – they’re all at work struggling with anything from a cold to a major tummy upset. There’s a lot of work on, but they can’t take hands off. Or maybe they’re worried about job security.

Whatever it is, they’re determined to be above it. So they drag themselves into work and force themselves. Feeling grim but ignoring it. Trying to do their job as if nothing is wrong. And that’s how it is for around 60 days a year – three whole working months.

Trouble is though, it’s hard to give 100% when you’re not well. When your head aches or your insides are in knots, 75% might nearer the mark – or often, even less. Concentration is a battle, so things take twice as long.  And at less than full attention, quality inevitably takes a dip.

Less than 100%

Reality is, like that your staff are less than themselves. They might be reassuringly at their desks, but they’re not on full song. You’re paying for 100%, but through no fault of theirs, you’re getting 75%. And this is most likely happening for 60 days a year.

Which means out of 250-odd working days a year, you’re only getting 190. Less another 6 for actual days sick in bed, and that’s down to 184. But we’re all so used to carrying on when things aren’t perfect, that we’ve all got used it. It’s a cost of doing business.

It’s an invisible cost too. So it never shows up on our radar. There’s no “unwell offset” for under-performing productivity – no way to measure a pounding migraine against job expectations. It still costs money though – even if we can’t see it.

Money that’s paid for in time.

Tick, tick – time is money

So you have this high-powered IT expert working flat-out on meeting a quote deadline. And running to the loo every ten minutes, because last night’s takeaway chicken tikka was off. No way that job will be finished by tonight – or maybe even tomorrow night. Just grind your teeth and take it.

Which is how you’re already paying a massive presenteeism bill without even being aware of it.

Normally, things go quick and the team is very efficient. Get somebody off-colour though – and things take so incredibly LONG. Then worse, because they impact others, the delays snowball.

All of a sudden, a two day job takes two weeks. With all the unwanted knock-on effects. Other work displaced, late finishing penalties, sagging customer confidence.

Then colleagues of our IT expert get the runs too. Rushing back to the keyboard without washing hands. Raging e.coli all over the Shift key. Suddenly it’s not one IT expert running to the loo, it’s three. But all doggedly staying at their desks because they’re pros and committed to the job.

So two weeks drags to six.

Assets at risk

Sure, MOST OF THE TIME staff are up and running, everything hunky-dory – the 100% you pay for. But a whole extra third of their time could be 100% too.

250 days instead of 184.

If only they weren’t feeling like death warmed up. If only they weren’t unwell at work. If only they were protected from germs that cause illness in the workplace.

Lurking viruses and bacteria not removed by normal cleaning. Clinging to documents, on light switches, door handles, touchscreens and phones. Floating through the air, which is most of any room space. Behind cupboards and servers and photocopiers. In coils of wire, cracks and crevices.

The kind of places that normal cleaning cannot reach. The kind of germ-kill that normal cleaning cannot deliver. Concentrated bleach everywhere soon does people’s heads in.

All of which can be fixed right now with a Hypersteriliser – fully automatic sterilising of your whole workplace area so all germs are eliminated.

Complimenting your normal cleaning, a superfine mist of hydrogen peroxide disperses everywhere, oxidising germs to nothing. In 40 minutes, your place is sterile. No chance to feel unwell because there are no germs to catch.

Want proof?

Sniff the air. All smells – the sign of viruses or bacteria at work – should be gone.

Check mould. Most places have at least some. See how it’s no longer pitch black, but grey. How it brushes off easily now it’s dead.

Check your calendar. With everybody at full strength, jobs should sail through. No delays, no set-backs, your team of pros can deliver at 100% productivity.

With maybe a little plus, too.

Real health protection

Since they know you sterilise the place for their safety, their commitment is even stronger. They’re feeling well and healthy, it easier to go the extra mile. Full of beans, their job is FUN. It’s great to be alive, let’s go for it!

Of course, not all of them might feel like that. So you might not always get 100%. Some unwell feelings are long-term conditions beyond your control. Accidents, muscular pain, asthma and sensitive tummies all take their toll.

And not all germs originate in the workplace. It’s a big world out there, full of dodgy places and experiences. But at least if somebody brings in something, your hydrogen peroxide treatment will reduce it to nothing.

Plus look at the costs you avoid when unwell people make things go wrong.

Which makes staff extra healthy, extra safe, extra enthusiastic – and all for free.

Better than the £6,264 you would be losing on each of them otherwise (see last week’s blog).

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Wellness rebates keep yielding thousands, are you getting yours yet?

Exec in chair
Sitting pretty, free from germs – with all that money in the bank

Never heard of wellness rebates?

That’s the money a business gets back when staff are NOT  sick.

Not actual cash payments, but money in the bank. That big bulge, right there on your bottom line

Five grand per staff member per year, maybe even more.

Crazy not to claim it too – because all businesses can.

Easy peasy, just by pressing a button.

All those years of paying money for staff to be ill – not actually gone, but substantially reduced. Expenses most of us never even think about, usually just accepted as a cost of doing business.

Invisible costs cut to size

All staff get ill at some time, right? It’s a fact of life.

And when that happens, you keep paying for them – even though they’re not doing any work. Their desks are empty, their job is not done – while they’re at home in bed, feeling miserable.

£522 a year that’s costing you, according to the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development). 6 days at £87 a day. That’s the median annual absence cost per employee in the private sector for 2016. It’s even more in the public sector – £835.

OK, so what do you do? Pull in temp staff to cover the gap, right? Without replacements there’s going to be holes. Which straight away doubles the sick cost to you – from £522 to £1,044.

You can see where this is going, can’t you?

Avoid staff going off sick, and you can save £1,044 per employee, per year.

15 staff  members passing a tummy bug around? That’s 15 times £1,044, right there. A grand total of £15,660 you’re out of pocket – paying for nothing, while staff stay home to get better.

But that’s not all.

The “presenteeism” problem

You know yourself there are times when you feel like death, but you HAVE to go to work anyway. Too much stuff to get done, or deadlines approaching. Or maybe you feel you’d better show your face – because if you don’t, there might not be a job to come back to.

OK, so you’re at work, head pounding or guts churning, but you’re going for it. Not exactly at 100%, are you? Taking longer to do stuff, not always noticing things, forgetting others, grumpy and difficult with everyone who tries to talk to you.

Uh huh. Your own experience tells you the truth of it.

You might be at your desk, but you’re under-performing. Which is how most of us are, 25% of the time. Grappling with asthma, backache, or twinges of IBS. Around 60 days a year that we’re not up to our best. What the HR people call “presenteeism” costs.

Which is TEN TIMES the days we booked off sick. And TEN TIMES the cost too – at £5,220.

Which, together with the cost of temp staff hauled in to cover – absenteeism plus presenteeism – comes to £6,264. Money you’re ALREADY PAYING OUT for one staff member per year.

And 15 staff members, because you’re all in the same office together? Do the math. That’s a whacking £93,960 – one heck of a bill to pay for basically nothing.

Getting your own back

OK, so what can you do about it? Plugging a leak like that could finance all kinds of things. Shouldn’t you be able to get some of that back?

Yes, there is. Which is what we mean by a wellness rebate. Recovering costs that are otherwise going down the drain.

Obviously you can’t recover all of it. Long term conditions like depression, COPD, or recurring migraines don’t go away – and accidents can make anybody under-powered.

But all of us are susceptible to germs – and all of us come down with some bug or other – usually when we least expect it.

That’s OK, as long as we isolate ourselves. Stay home and get better, without infecting anyone.

The trouble with germs is, they often incubate before we know they’re there. We can be carrying flu days before the first sneeze – or norovirus hours before the first violent upchuck.

Whoops, atchoo!

Meanwhile we’re contagious.

Everything we touch, everyone we talk to, can pick up whatever viruses or bacteria we have. Next thing, everyone is down with it. Bad news running a business that depends on human assets at full power all the time.

Which is where pressing the button comes in.

It’s the start button on a Hypersteriliser – a machine that destroys germs in enclosed workplaces by oxidising them with ionised hydrogen peroxide.

When staff go home, it mists up the entire place, reaching all surfaces and air spaces – even remote corners. Oxygen atoms clamp on to germs and rip them apart. In 40 minutes the whole place is sterile – to a Log 6 Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% elimination.

No viruses, no bacteria, no germs to make anyone sick. Everyone stays at 100% performance. And you’ve just saved yourself a massive chunk of £6,264 – or £93,960 if there’s 15 of you together in the office.

Not had a wellness rebate yet? Get on to your cleaning company and make waves. Or get a Hypersteriliser of your own.

At the rate you’re saving, it’ll pay for itself within weeks. Your staff will be bouncing around, full of the joys of spring. And you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.

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