Tag Archives: sick leave

Executive no-brainer: staff unwell-at-work or boosted productivity?

Executive decision
Lose or win, it’s a no-brainer. Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash

It has to be the easiest decision ever. The ultimate no-brainer.

Absorb the costs of staff unwell at work and the mistakes they make. Or bank the bonus of staff always at full strength.

Lose-win. Game over, now let’s get back to business.

No-brainer. No contest. Sorted.

Well think of it.

Cost of unwellness

On the downside, there’s always unwellness, right?

Staff off sick, on average 6 days a year. Out of commish, off the grid – everybody doubles up or you bring in a temp. Kind of expensive if it’s one of your heavy-hitters out.

Except that’s not the half of it. At least off sick, you know where you stand. It’s when they DON’T go off sick but come to work anyway that’s the hiccup.

Like how unwell are they, really? 10% off the pace? 50%? 80%?

Even they don’t know till they have to step up. The moment of crisis on which everything hangs. Is their head all there, or is it loopy? Do they choose right or wrong? Have they heard correctly or jumbled it up? Will you lose a little, or a lot?

A no-brainer in itself, isn’t it?

Because you can’t really afford under-performing like that. Second-guessing all the time, not daring to take a chance. More liability than asset. Easier if they stayed home.

Hold that thought. That’s the no-brainer bit.

The no-brainer no-brainer

Can you really afford to have them at their desk, sick – as iffy maybe as a complete rookie?

Yes, they’re at work – but ill anyway. Wouldn’t you score more if they weren’t?

Sort of knocks staff discipline on the head, doesn’t it? At least the Nineteenth Century Dickens version of it. Heroes at their post, setting an example. When the truth of it is, they’re a loose cannon, blundering through the day – with more for you to put right than went wrong in the first place.

Another no-brainer. Send them home. No coming back until they’re fully on-song.

Which means you’d better spend some time finding out WHY they’re unwell. Because, do your sums and you’ll find EVERY team member is dragging their heels and off colour 57.5 days a year on average. Almost three working months.

Cost of faking it

Yes, they’re off six days a year with normal sick leave. And off the pace TEN TIMES that if you accept also-ran under-performance, sitting at their desks trying to fake they’re OK.

Uh, huh – so why?

Oh sure, the physical thing. Usually a respiratory or gastric disorder, two to three days of misery – and another two of shaky wheelspin after.

Gulp. Can you afford to give them that kind of time off?

Yet another no-brainer. What if that staffer was a Boeing captain – £350 million worth of aeroplane, 325 trusting souls, 6,000 miles and 10 hours to go, with cargo of £42 million?

Yes, well. To each in their own way, aren’t ALL your staff Boeing captains? They may only fly a spreadsheet, but if they crash and burn doing it?

More serious illnesses than that and you’ll want them to take time off anyway. You can’t run the risk of losing your team permanently.

All in the mind

But maybe it’s not physical at all. Something emotional taking over their spirit. Mental anguish as crippling as any injury. Deep down and personal, but no less real. Like stress, the dreaded black dog most of us meet, sooner or later.

It’s a no-brainer they need time too. To escape and heal. Or to get away and deal with their monsters.

Because they ARE monsters inside their head, larger than life so they can’t think or see straight. Bereavements, financial worries, relationships in trouble, being bullied, low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy, job insecurity, peer group pressure, social media trolling.

Fail to address them, and your business will fail too. Because nobody can function, trailing that kind of baggage.

Which means time for you to listen, reassure and understand. Time for you to give away, so they can get outside and fix things – 57.5 days of it. To go to the school meeting, consult the sex counsellor, stay home for the delivery, get the car in for MOT before the DVLA closes in.

OK, so what does all this giving time away do?

Time to heal

Make everybody feel better, back to being whole again, everything back to normal. Worth its weight in gold, right? No-brainer there too.

And here’s another one to keep it company. The biggest no-brainer of all.

You know how offices are germ-infested hellholes? Sure you do, all of them, including yours. Every week when news is scarce, the magazines and tabloids are full of it.

Well, what if there were no germs at all? No viruses, no bacteria, no fungi. No nasties for anyone to catch.

Safe and secure

There’d be no-one of sick then, would there? And no-one sitting at their desk, feeling like death. Everyone would be happy and well and raring to go. Revved up and ready for anything. Committed, motivated and inspired by you.

Because you had the savvy to sterilise the place – no more becoming unwell at work. And you gave them time to ease their stress – no more fretting themselves into an ulcer or some kind of a breakdown.

Revved up and going for it, what could be better? And with all their problems magiced away, overnight you’ve got 57.5 days back. Three working months you’ve been paying for all this time- and now suddenly, they’re yours.

Can’t beat that for productivity – a no-brainer all the way.

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.

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.

Would you risk your whole company for a few days of sick leave?

Worried Manager
It’s not having no staff you have to worry about, it’s having no company at all

Sick leave is sick leave, right?

People taking chances, skiving days off. Like, unless they’re in hospital, it’s all stitch up, yeah?

Productivity down the tubes because somebody has a sore toe.

Not an issue, except for staff discipline.

Show them you’re soft and they’ll take you for everything. All it needs is a little tightening up.

As if.

Beyond sick leave

Yes, sick leave is an issue. But small in the great scheme of things. A blip alongside the multi-million pound deals where the real action is.

Small, huh?

Try microscopic.

The size that germs are when they take you down. You, or any of your staff – we’re all human. When infection strikes, we’re all of us out of commission – real pain, real fever, real life threat if it gets out of hand.

Which is why sick leave.

Time out to get better. Quarantine to avoid taking other staff down too.

Side issue, yes – except it’s human assets that are at hazard. Productive only when the body is working well. Dodgy, dead risky, or downright dangerous when not 100%.

Yes, so somebody slopes off a day extra after a cold or flu. A small price against having the whole office out with the same thing. No hands when they’re most needed, so things start looking iffy.

“Nice take on this!” – Washington Post

Or riskier still, how about they DON’T take time off? Or not all the time they’re supposed to. So they’re working at half power, unwell at work, dragging everybody down with them. Screwing up left, right and centre because their minds are wet putty.

Paying that never stops

Costa Brava con job? Get ready for Costa Plenty.

Like how about the airline captain who lifts off for a long-haul flight with tummy cramps? £500 million worth of Airbus A380, 360 passengers – and lawyers lined up to infinity and beyond if anything goes wrong.

And if the worst happens, who’s going to fly with that airline ever again? What happens to their licence?  Is there any way back from such negative PR?

Can’t happen in your business?

Hey, when sick leave issues go pear-shaped, nobody is immune.

Like Mex-food restaurant chain, Chipotle. Staff recalled from sick leave early – still contagious. 133 customers down with food poisoning, share price drops 12%. And this on top off previous health incidents – only a bumpy ride back.

You see, sick leave itself is easy. Expensive, yes – business gurus PwC put yearly UK sick leave costs at £29 billion.

The hard part is the knock-ons. An average ten times normal sick leave cost for regular Tom, Dick and Harriets who struggle back to their desks as martyrs – an eye-watering £290 billion.

Damage control

And then there’s the damage control. What do those sick staff do when they’re not functioning and out of their heads, basically sitting there trying to stay alive? What can they cost with their mistakes and falling around? Double their salary? Triple? Check out the hairy possible Germonomics.

The mind boggles.

All of which says, don’t catch a cold. Treat sick leave seriously. Over-indulge if you have to. A few extra days off is chicken-feed alongside crashing the whole company.

Besides, what better motivation can you have for staff? You show you care and you’re thinking about them. Your ace in the hole. They might not volunteer the extra mile – but they’re sure to be OK with giving it, if you ask.

Which means profits are safe, staff are safe, everybody’s happy.

Can’t do better than that.

Picture Copyright: dolgachov / 123RF Stock Photo

Germ-free offices make pots more money

Ecstatic businesswoman
Winning is addictive. And the feel-good is contagious

We’re kidding, right?

No way the numbers add up.

So what if 131 million working days are lost to sick leave every year? That’s not going to break the bank – 4.4 days per employee, one week out of 52, not even 2%.

Yeah – except none of those employees works in isolation. There’s colleagues like you, sitting at a desk less than 10 feet away – well inside cough, splutter range.

Oops, it’s catching

Which means whatever they get, you get too. Sod’s law.

Sure, sure, but all part of the same statistic. Only 4.4, right?

You wish.

Because being sick for real – not just pulling a sickie – is more than one or two days off, isn’t it?

There’s the four-five days incubation, before you come down with it. Not feeling yourself, dragging yourself into work, head all over the place, sweats and chills at the same time, tummy roiling with World War Three.

Impossible to work like that. Not you at your best, hey? What would you say, 50% under par? More? Less than half a person, going through the motions – and all the time you’re doing that, how many others are there inside YOUR 10 foot cough, splutter range?

You shouldn’t be there, right? You owe it to your colleagues – and your bosses. You’re a walking germ-alodium and you ought to stay away.

So what do you prove, walking round, infecting everyone? That you’re a hero? Get real.

And the rest

Plus of course, there’s the other four-five days when you get back. Still feeling like death warmed up, still way under par. Not convalescing, you do that at home. More like guilt-tripping because you know they’re running under-staffed. Or maybe you’re worried about job security.

Which makes the numbers more under-claim rosy than they should be, doesn’t it? A bigger cost, even lower productivity. Instead of 4.4 days a year, you’re performing like less than half of yourself for another ten – altogether three weeks of your expertise whipped away, gone.

And that’s not counting mistakes you might make because you’re not 100% on the ball. Or things you miss while you’re battling to concentrate. They have a price tag too. Lost income certainly, maybe a lost contract too. Or forfeits of some kind because your work doesn’t come up to scratch.

The real downside

OK, so if straight statistics mean the country is losing £29 billion a year from sick days – reality is at least five to ten times more than that, around £150 billion.

To put that in perspective, say you’re a mid-level minnow at £2,500 a month and your valued expertise generates 10 times more than that. Your worth to the company is £27,500 a month. Take out the three weeks of under-performing and that’s just under £18,500. Down the tubes, gone. Because you weren’t functioning on all four.

But hold it. Those ONS statistics mean every worker in the country loses 4.4 days a year – every single one.

So if there’s ten more of you in the office, that’s £185,000 a year, assuming you’re all at the same level. Add the boss in there – and say, a couple of the more high-powered sales stars – and that easily tops half a mill.

Half a million quid, every year – just for parking off, sick!

How many companies can afford that? And what if where you work has more than ten people?

Light in the tunnel

Which makes it kind of crazy that it’s all unnecessary, doesn’t it?

Because for less than the cost of just one of you, that all-involving career outfit you’re working for could have not one but TWO Hypersteriliser machines misting up the place every night and reducing the presence of all viruses and bacteria to zero. No germs, boom – in around forty minutes per room.

And what would that do? Chop the chance of any of you catching an infection at work by at least half, maybe more.

No, it won’t wave a magic wand if you’re sick already – or stop you coming down with something if it’s already inside you.

But it will stop new stuff – all of it.

And if you all give up bad habits like eating at your desk – about the worst place to catch germs in the universe from the guck that accumulates and is never cleaned away – there’s even less chance of getting sick, ever.

Especially if you all wash your hands on top of it – and keep sanitising gel handy.

Uh huh. A total U-turn in office hygiene.

Because now instead of losing money, the place starts making it. Not exactly germ-free, but almost.

When success strikes

Feeling well means that everyone is functioning at 100 per. Stuff gets done, efficiency rises. You all start looking like winners. Which of course, you are.

Snowball time. Everything just keeps getting better.

Your offices feel like a good place to be, so morale takes a hike. Onwards and upwards becomes a reality. Going the extra mile is done with a smile. The competitive edge. You’re better than anyone else and you know it.

All of you.

And what does that do to the balance sheet?

See the boss’s smile. See him give you a whole extra three weeks off.

Wait a minute, wasn’t that how long you were out of it – dragging yourself around, sick as a dog?

See the boss smile again. Feel yourself do it too.

The place can afford it now – a clean bill of health. These are germ-free offices and it shows.