Tag Archives: sick

Workplace germs black hole: just one year of unwell-at-work costs is enough to bankroll Brexit

Brexit - include me out
Bye-bye £290 billion – which makes Brexit £40 billion less than being mugged by germs

Yes, Brexit will mean big bucks. £250 billion according to the Bank of England – already set aside before the referendum.

Make that £250 billion and some change.

Like another £40 billion. The same as we Brits blew last year going overseas on holiday.

That’s right, £290 billion – bigger than Brexit, bigger than the NHS budget. The staggering price tag of people being unwell at work in a year. TEN TIMES more than being booked of sick, which itself is £29 billion say business experts PWC.

Invisible germ tax

Enough to make you sick just thinking about it.

Yet most organisations don’t even know they’re paying it.

As long as people turn up for work, they reckon they’re getting value for money. It’s only a headache or the sniffles, nothing to worry about.

Except who are we kidding?

You know yourself how hard it is to function with a road drill pounding inside your brain. How good are your phone skills handling that? Or focusing on a spreadsheet with tiny figures? Be kinda nice to Brexit from that wouldn’t it?

But yeah, you’re committed, you came into work. You’re at your desk, going through the motions. Hard at it with the odd sneeze, spreading up through the air-con – scattering the floor around you with used tissues.

Which means it’s not just you, is it? Soon there’ll be five of you, exploding and dabbing your noses. None of you with heads that can think straight. But hey, you got here.

And just how efficient are you, working like that? Are you at 60%? 40%? Or should you really be home in bed but don’t want to admit it?

Ever wondered how often you feel like that? Actually, how EVERYBODY feels, because we’re all the same?

Three working months

Well hang onto your seats, because it’s 57.5 days. And that not just us saying that, that’s per a GCC report validated against the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Workplace Health and Productivity Questionnaire (HPQ).

And that’s on top of actual days off sick each of us also puts in for. Just over 6 a year say the CIPD, who run their Absence Management research every twelve months.

Uh huh.

6 days off sick. Plus nearly 60 days unwell at work.

Three working months.

Which explains where all the money goes, that £290 billion.

All of us get paid for 12 months work. But add up all our off days – and we only deliver 9.

We can’t do more because we’re disabled. Knocked out of commish by colds, flu, tummy bugs, allergies, you name it. Taken down by germs we can pick up anywhere, but most of all in the workplace.

Why? Because we’re all herded together – interacting, conferring, networking where we can all reach each other quickly. Exactly like passengers on a cruise ship, though we’re sailing the seas of business.

And you’ve read the headlines, they’re none of them good.

Hygiene hiatus

Like, how quickly does a bug like norovirus spread among tightly packed communal gatherings? How much does its violent cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea put people out of action? How difficult is it to clear up and stop it coming back again?

Alongside that, remember the other headlines. About the research that tells us our desks might harbour 10 million germs at any time.  About how our phones have more germs than a toilet seat.

Plus the other gruesome realities about how hygienic we think we are, but aren’t:

So, 60 days unwell at work every year? It’s a wonder it’s not more.

Which why it costs such a bomb – £290 billion. Or to see how it affects you personally, click here.

But nobody does anything about it, right? Or even recognises it’s a problem. Total defeatism. Mugged by germs and we just accept it. People have off days, what can you do? It’s a cost of doing business.

Productivity up a third

Rubbish! Reality is, our whole hygiene discipline is NUTS (Not Up To Standard).

But clobber workplace germs and people’s productivity goes up by a third – from nine months worth to twelve. No germs to make them ill, nothing to hold them back. Reclaiming rightful share of £290 billion.

And it’s so easy, you could cry.

Just press the button on a Hypersteriliser – a portable automatic machine that destroys germs in enclosed spaces.  ALL of them – viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites. Oxidises them to nothing in a fine mist that penetrates everywhere.  Safely applied after everybody goes home, sterile in the morning.

Sure, it’s expensive. So is a Mercedes Benz – precision machines always are. But for the equivalent productivity loss you’re already making on just one salary, it can make a major chunk of your unwell-at-work costs go away.

Like this IT company we know. A super-performance sweatshop with 15 high-powered techies locked in a room on a make-or-break deadline of the end of the month. One of them gets a bug, they all do – and the whole contract goes down the tubes. How do you put a price tag on that?

Make money, not lose it

No, you’re not bankrolling Brexit. But clobber workplace germs and you CAN start looking at staff bonuses. And if everybody starts being a third more productive, you can maybe think about opening in China, or Australia, or wherever else those contrariwise EU countries aren’t.

Worth a bob or two, isn’t it?

Picture Copyright: BDS / 123RF Stock Photo and gutzemberg / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2017-01-18 15:48:07.

Why our medicines make us sick and how to fix it

Exercise sunset
You are what you eat –
but do you know what you’re eating?

The way our grandparents keep banging on about it, you’d swear they were tough as nails.

“Didn’t get sick with that in my day, you youngsters are wimps.”

When we was young

Yeah, thanks for that. Doesn’t look like that now though – they get just as sick as we do.

Er, except they have a point.

There are all kinds of sicknesses now they didn’t have back then. New on the radar – nobody hardly heard of them fifty years ago.

Hello Legionnaire’s disease, toxic shock syndrome, Lyme disease, campylobacter, escherichia coli, vibrio cholerae, helicobacter, erlichiosis, Bartonellosis, Marburg virus, Ebola virus, hantavirus, HIV, cryptosporidiosis, cyclyspora, fungal diseases and spongiform encephalopathy, just to name a few. Sick and super-sick.

And how about allergies? Asthma, allergic rhinitis, peanut butter, lactose intolerance, coeliac disease, yeast, shellfish – all of them chronic, highly unpleasant – and in increasing cases, life-threatening.

Yeah OK, we don’t live the same as we did fifty years ago. People smoked like chimneys, air travel was a once-in-a-lifetime luxury – and apart from fish and chips, fast-food was a fledgling that’ll-never-work fancy.

Miracle magic

We also didn’t have the wonder-drugs – antibiotics. So amazing they wiped out a whole slew of illnesses and infection sources overnight. Doctors could perform miracle surgery – heart transplants, hip replacements, rebuild faces, reattach lost limbs, do the impossible.

Now they’re used for everything.

Got a problem? Hit it with antibiotics. Even, would you believe, for non-essential conditions like acne.

You got it – use and over-use. Fifty years of chucking them down our throats – no wonder bacteria have found ways to build up a resistance. Suddenly our wonder-drugs are not working so good any more.

Scarier still, right now all our head cheese numero uno medics are reckoning they’re going to conk out altogether. What the heck do we do when they stop working?

But that’s not why we’re getting these new illnesses. It gets way, way worse than that.

The answer lies in the soil

Because with all the wow-factor of antibiotics, farmers latched onto them too. To protect livestock crowded together in muddy, unhealthy conditions. And to fatten them up.

One of the big plus side-effects of antibiotics in feedstuffs is that animals bulk up faster on less food – getting to market quicker, at a higher price. Bingo!

Which means for fifty years, antibiotics have been used in food production big time – on a massive industrial scale, currently at 65,000 tons a year world-wide – and set to more than double in the next ten years.

Wow, amazing! All the world’s food supply problems solved.

With the totally predictable but unrecognised result that antibiotics are now in everything we eat.

Certainly in all meat, because they’re in the animal foodstuff. In plants too, because animal manure is the most productive natural manure. And in the soil, leaching down from the manure. Into the aquifers and watercourses – pretty well every river and stream in the country.

Uh huh.

One brutal and awkward fact staring at us right there.

The everyday dose

Whoever we are, man, woman or child – anywhere throughout the UK – WE ALL CONSUME ANTIBIOTICS DAILY as part of our regular diet. Carnivores, vegetarians – no exceptions. They’re even in the water we drink.

How can we tell?

Well here’s another change that’s happened over the last fifty years.

We’re all getting fat.

Check your own waistline. Right now two-thirds of adults and a quarter of children are overweight or obese.

Oh yummy. Which puts us all in line for heart disease, diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders, cancers, depression and anxiety.

The medics reckon it’s sedentary lifestyles, low exercise and high fat diets. Yeah, maybe.

But the elephant in the room is what farmers have already discovered – and been mainlining into their animals for fifty years.

Antibiotics make metabolisms bulk up. “Antimicrobial growth promoters” they call them – basically super-fatteners – like the wicked witch used on naughty children in fairy tales.

And traces of antibiotics have been in every mouthful everyone of us has eaten for the last fifty years. Exactly like we’re being fattened up for market.

Hey, fatty!

Yeah, the things are banned for farming in the EU and have been since 2006. Except here in Britain either the message hasn’t got through, or government and big bucks are conveniently looking the other way.

Want evidence?

Fifteen odd years ago, the family returned here to UK from a near life-time in South Africa. Within two years, our athletic sylph-like figures had metamorphosed into “charmingly chubby”. No, we weren’t eating different foods – just UK-sourced stuff we’d never had before.

And fifteen years ago, South Africa wasn’t using “antimicrobial growth promoters” to the same saturation level they are now. A chicken was just chicken – and a trip to Nando’s didn’t set you up to ballooning into a porker.

Which underlines the fact that antibiotics really do create major changes in the body.

Our innards are full of benevolent bacteria – 100 trillion of them doing the heavy work of digesting, producing proteins and helping to manage immune systems, while we park off with the Xbox on the sofa – Call of Duty Black Ops 3, or something equally important.

Immunity school

It’s these bacteria that our Mums teach when we’re in the womb and while we’re nursing –building our defences for all kinds of diseases we’ll face later in life. The same bacteria learn how to create immunity in our formative years too. Those days eating mud have a purpose.

Thing is though, that we don’t face the same diseases we were set up for in our childhood. Our water supply is pure, so there’s no germs there. We have inside loos and hot water, so we’re a lot cleaner than we used to be.

Uh huh. An immune system with nothing to do – so it goes rogue. Triggers false alarms like allergies when there’s no real threat. A crisis out of nothing. Net result, we’re less resistant than we were fifty years ago. Grandpa was right, us youngsters are wimps.

All these newly antibiotic resistant illnesses don’t help either. MRSA, salmonella, streptococcus, c.difficile, gonorrhoea and e.coli. Even that Victorian illness TB – almost completely off the scope in UK – has found a way to make a comeback.

Yeah, weaker than our Swinging Sixties oldies – and more at hazard because the wonder-drugs don’t work any more.

Hike up our hygiene

Which leaves one line of defence that’s now essential if we’re going to survive. Hike up our hygiene levels so that harmful pathogens can’t get us – we’re not just clean, our surroundings are sterile. No bacteria, no risk, job done.

Which means two things.

Washing our hands before and after we do anything like eat or hit the loo – so there’s never any germs on them.

And misting our surroundings up with a Hypersteriliser, so there’s no germs around us either – particularly in the air – they’re oxidised to nothing by ionised hydrogen peroxide. Bacteria gone, viruses too, safe and sterile.

OK, now we can stop with the antibiotics, though the farmers have still got an issue. Better hygiene all round should sort it – why shouldn’t pigs and poultry be protected sterile-safe like we are?

Oh yes, and no more obesity either – though count on it, diets will still remain a fad. Yes, still the gym, unless we’re sick of it. Yes, still the carrot juice.

But we don’t all have to be Size 12 to look fit.

Originally posted 2015-11-24 15:23:15.

Monthly sick costs £2,220 Sickness avoidance £420

Flaunting cash
You can’t see germs – but you can see the savings when they’re gone

Wow, do we ever pay for a sickie.

131 million days are lost every year because we’re down with something – according to the Office of National Statistics – around 4.4 days per worker at a cost of £29 billion.

Not good if you’re a manager, or running your own business.

Not good for employees either.

Losing hand over fist

Staff off sick means having to double up. Overtime, yes – but not because you wanted it. Working with temps who are not up to speed. Less time to do your own stuff. More stress, stretched patience, being under pressure.

And of course, less to divvy out when it comes to bonus time.

4.4 days – almost a week.

But folks at the Sage Group reckon it’s far higher – and £100 billion too. More like 19 days for ill health, 23 for stress, depression and anxiety. And as the world’s third largest accounting software operation, they ought to know – most bean-counters want it accurate, down to the penny.

Which gets a little hairy when you do the sums.

What if…

Just to grab a perspective, say we’re a company of 20 people in an office, averaging between us around £20,000 a year each. Some kind of sales outfit, or maybe a call centre.

Allow 16 days each for colds, flu, tummy bugs and the usual suspects – and we’re looking at a monthly hit to the company’s bottom line of about £2,220 – more than the take-home for any of us. A deadweight overhead nobody ever sees.

Well, yeah.

Except it’s mostly preventable.

Because – not looking at injuries or long-term physical problems – all those ailments come from germs. Viruses or bacteria we either breathe in or eat – which trigger coughs, sniffles, headaches, fever, vomiting and diarrhoea.

And all of which we pass easily from one to another- cooped up together in our open plan office the way we are. Breathing the same air, sharing the same things, touching the same objects and each other, eating at our desks and running the same risks.

Look closely and you’ll see why. Greasy finger marks on keyboards, phones and light switches – dust bunnies behind all those plasma screens. 10 million bacteria on the average desk that we’re working at with out bare hands.

And still sitting there tomorrow, because the average wipe-down doesn’t actually cover all those high touch surfaces. Vacuum the floors, empty the bins, wipe the desks – and that’s yer lot. No wonder sickie costs are £2,220 a month!

No doctor necessary

Now here’s the preventable bit.

To take down all the viruses and bacteria everywhere in the room – dark corners, cracks and crevices too – as well as the air, that 80% of moving-around space that never gets touched – annihilating germs completely.

All it takes is to press one button on a smart-looking machine – about the size of a small wheelie-bin. The Hypersteriliser.

Nifty device, this.

It fills the air with an ultra-fine mist of hydrogen peroxide – ionised, so it actively spreads away from itself. Reaching up and out – hard up against ceilings and walls, onto every surface. Behind, under and on top of filing cabinets, server consoles, copy machines, the works.

The charged molecules reach out and grab all germs on the fly, oxidising them to oblivion.

Next morning, the place is sterile. No viruses, no bacteria, no illnesses to bring anybody down – no pathogens to pass on to each other either.

And it’s like that every morning – day in, day out.

Safe, secure. With machine and misting solution on lease at just £420 a month – less than a quarter of sick leave costs. Costs that no longer have to be met. And work pressure nobody has to keep living with.

Of course, everything could stay the way it is and we all put up with it – cough, sniffle.

Two plus two equals..?

But, let’s see – that’s £2,220 less the £420 lease cost…

What business wouldn’t want to save £1,800 a month – AND have everybody well and smiling at their desks, all up to full horsepower?

Money talks, germs don’t. And the difference is one heck of a packet.

Originally posted 2015-10-06 14:42:53.