Tag Archives: unwell at work

Unexpected staff illness – how much can it cost?

Pilots in cockpit
Exactly what’s at risk when staff are unwell at work? And is it affordable?

Hope for the best, plan for the worst. Because there’s no such thing as unexpected staff illness.

So, it happens. We’re all human.

We’re all vulnerable to germs.

Up one minute, down the next. Suddenly feeling unwell is a fact of life.

Inconvenient at the best of times, it can also be very expensive.

Missed flight because the crew were sick? That could cost thousands.

A whole plane-load of missed appointments, onward connections, overrun deadlines, a legal claims nightmare.

Not that anyone is ever to blame. Except perhaps they are.

Duty of care

What steps does management take to protect the needs of customers? Massive pay-out insurance? A stand-by crew, always on hand? An effective health protection system?

No wonder airlines try it on that crew sickness is an “extraordinary circumstance” – not deserving of compensation.

Poppycock, of course. If they were a school, there’d be a supply teacher in there without missing a beat – and paid for as an anticipated cost of doing business.

Which is one way round – throw money at it. And hope it doesn’t get worse.

Have-a-go heroes

So what happens if an airline pilot feels unwell, but flies anyway – playing hero against the schedules? Could be worse, could be disaster. How good is his judgement if he’s not 100%? Are his reflexes fast enough? Can he focus on the job without endangering his passengers?

It’s an issue all organisations face. Airlines, accountancy firms, supermarkets, fast food joints.

OK, so it’s not so life-threatening, flying a spreadsheet instead of an Airbus A380 – but the issues are the same. Unwell at work, same opportunities to make mistakes, forget key factors, gloss over vital requirements.

And depending on the outcome, the sky’s the limit in terms of costs to be compensated. On top of the predictable cost of salary paid for, but not returned in productivity. People staggering in to work unwell – and not being able to cope.

And that can run to thousands too – especially with multiple staff.

Lots of money. A major investment in unnecessary overhead.

Coughs and sneezes spread diseases

Because at least 85% of the time, most illnesses at work are preventable.

Avoidable because they’re picked up in the workplace. Lots of people in close quarters, working together – exposure to commonly shared germs is inevitable. Transferred on contact mostly, via high-touch fomites. Remember Kate Winslet in Contagion?

Everyday items like door handles, light switches, lift buttons, touch screens.  Personal items like keys, money, credit cards, cosmetics – and most of all phones.

Whoa, whoa, hold it.

What are we, germophobes? Paranoid about germs and demanding everything scrubbed spotless?

Hygiene reality check

Allergic to unnecessary costs, more like. To bankrupting ourselves with needless expense and the wheel-spin that goes with it. Customer delays, underpowered service, missed opportunities, lost business and slowed momentum.

Which is why we keep flogging this Hypersteriliser machine we’re always banging on about. The thing that takes out all germs and makes the place sterile. No germs, no chance to be ill, where’s the problem?

Especially when it’s so push button easy to do. Whooshhydrogen peroxide mist everywhere, job done in forty minutes.

And saving a ton of money, over and over and over.

Which answers the question doesn’t it? Unexpected staff illness – how much can it cost?

Nothing, if you take the right steps.

Picture Copyright: leaf / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2017-01-31 15:03:50.

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.

Beat the 25% germ tax you’re already paying

Business team celebrating
No germs, no unwell at work, no productivity loss – all on full song, 100%

Never heard of germ tax? Not surprising.

It’s an invisible cost all businesses face without knowing.

25% of the salary value for every employee – from the boss right down to the tea boy.

You read that right. A quarter of everybody’s pay packet, blown on coping with germs.

Unwell at work costs a bomb

Actually, to be more accurate, it’s the cost of presenteeism. All those days of under-powered productivity. When staffers feel off colour with some bug or other, but force themselves to come to work anyway.

At their posts and doing their jobs. Or at least going through the motions. Not exactly easy when you’re feeling grim and concentrating is an effort.

Recognise the condition? We all know it. Not sick enough to stay home in bed, but a shadow of who we usually are. Lame ducks – and sometimes more liability than asset.

Because when your head is pounding or dizzy, keeping track of detail gets impossible. So does keeping your cool under pressure. Or responding at your best, talking to customers.

Which means errors happen. Things get missed or forgotten. Business opportunities slip, or fly out the door. Nobody’s fault, but inevitable when team members are not their 100% professional selves. Lots of money down the tubes.

All of us experience this. And more often than we might think.

Presenteeism price-tag

60 days a year, according to a study of nearly 2,000 employees validated against the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Workplace Health and Productivity.  TEN TIMES MORE than the average 6 days a year most of us take off sick.

Hmm, 60 days. Three working months. A lot of productivity to lose.  And yet every organisation does. Because we’re all human – and humans have ups and downs.

Which effectively means salaries get paid for a full year, but only deliver 9 months. 25% gets knocked off for ailments of some kind. The times when we struggle to get things done because germs prevent us from being fully capable. QUARTER OF A YEAR IN GERM TAX.

Not all germs, of course. Lots of us battle with non-infectious challenges as well. Back problems, muscle cramps, migraines, IBS. But germs are the major chunk.

And germs are the issue we can do something about.

Effective germ tax avoidance

Like take them down completely in our workplaces. Eliminate all viruses and bacteria. Oxidise them to nothing – on surfaces and in the air. Safe, secure and sterile.

Easy as pie with a Hypersteriliser. A nifty wheelie-bin sized automatic unit that mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide after everyone’s gone home for the night. Force-spread by electrostatic charge, the stuff disperses everywhere. Including deep into cracks and fissures where ordinary cleaning can’t.

Hydrogen peroxide: how it works

It takes about 40 minutes for the stuff to work in the average room. To find every germ cell and rip it apart, which is what oxidising does. Every germ cell down to 1 in a million that is. 99.9999% germ-free – a 6-log Sterility Assurance Level.

And with no germs around, there’s no chance for people to get ill. Not in the workplace at least. Though they can bring germs in with them from outside – because all of us trail around our own personal germ cloud.

But with a lower germ threshold, starting from zero every  morning, there’s less chance of germs circulating from one to another. Or being stirred up in the air-con.

All OK with HMRC too

No germs, no germ tax.

And productivity is restored to 100% – see our calculator here.

It’s the ultimate tax dodge – ahem, legal tax avoidance. And don’t worry, most salaries have already passed through HMRC, so you’re laughing.

Can you honestly afford not to cash in on it?

Picture Copyright: wavebreakmediamicro / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2017-01-11 14:28:59.

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.

Picture Copyright: sifotography / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2017-01-09 17:12:13.

How much do you LOSE from staff coming to work ill?

The End of It All - you win, you lose
Hope for the best, plan for the worst – staff illness at work can lose you thousands, and even the business. Photo by Andrew Amistad on Unsplash

There’s no easy way to soften this – you can lose everything.

Not at all the same as if staff are absent on sick leave – you only lose time and input for that.

Lose without realising

But sitting poorly at their desks, suffering in silence – you lose from inefficiency and poor performance. You lose from underpowered output and things getting done wrong.

They might try their hardest – determinedly taking up their place and putting in the effort.

But you still lose.

They are not themselves, the professional capabilities you hired them for are not fully deployed. So yes, they’re present and committed, and all the good things.

But you lose from under-delivery and all its knock-on effects. Which in salary terms alone costs ten  times more than if they’d stayed home.

More than machines?

Quite right, they’re not machines and shouldn’t be treated like they are.

Or maybe they should. At least if a machine is malfunctioning, it gets attention.

First it’s turned off, and put safely offline – no faulty output, product integrity is maintained. Then it gets tuned, adjusted or repaired – brought back to 100% capability.

No comebacks from poor performance or sub-standard quality. A machine only goes back online once it’s tested and verified to be working correctly.

Straight economic common sense, right? Inferior product is not an option – because letting it continue is a sure-fire way of going out of business.

But here’s Felicity with a grim smile, slightly more pale than usual – nowhere near her bubbly  self. And doubled up with stomach cramps when she thinks you’re not looking. Teeth clenched and determined to go the extra mile.

What is it, gastro? Salmonella, campylobacter or e. coli?

Does it matter? They’re all germs to be picked up on contact, or breathed in.

And Felicity’s hard at it – fingers flying over the keyboard, punching in phone numbers, paging through the same documents, and hitting the same light switches as everybody else.

Which means whatever she’s got, it’s on their fingers too. Only a matter of time and it’ll be their turn. And they’ll be like her, making the effort. Sitting at their desks, pretending nothing is wrong.

Looks OK, but isn’t

The extra mile, but why?

Ashamed to let colleagues down, saddling them with extra work? Worried about job security, that there’ll be a job to come back to if she stays away?

So she sits there, malfunctioning, even hiding it from you. Any glitches risk being unchecked and proceeding undetected.

You may never know – even when customers quit. Or when a major calamity happens, two years down the line.

All you know is, somehow you lose. So customers quit – that happens, it’s a cost of doing business. So a calamity happens – things go pear-shaped, right? Not a lot you can do about them.

Excuse us, that’s a load of codswallop.

If staff are up to speed and properly themselves all the time, glitches shouldn’t happen. After all, you hired them, and you set the rules – as good as they could be from the get-go, right?

Except they aren’t – and that’s why you lose.

And why you’re losing right now.

3 months out of every 12

Because – if you didn’t click the last link, click this one now – being unwell at work happens to all of us. 57.5 days a year, almost three working months.

Every third day or so something gives us a strange turn, the bod shows strain, and we wind up feeling less than we should.

Three working months, that’s a whole quarter. Impaired performance that you’re paying for – short change out of the nine good months a year that justify your investment. And those are just the salary issues.

How about what you lose from mistakes, missed deadlines, fumbled finger-work – or simply taking longer to do things because peoples’ brains feel like boiled knitting?

It could be thousands and thousands (here’s a calculator to check) – money you lose without realising it, because that’s the way it’s always been.

And it’s not just one person, it’s all of them. All sharing the same space, touching the same things, breathing the same air. Every one of them exposed to every other. So that any illness, any germ, transfers perpetually – round and round, infecting and re-infecting.

So that all the time, you lose.

Lose and win

Unless of course, you do something to stop the germs.

Take them out, eliminate them – make your workplace a sterile haven that can’t harm any one. No germs in the air, no germs on any surface, no germs on the fomites we all touch and share – keys, light switches, door handles, touch screens, money, every little thing.

Stop the germs and you stop standing to lose – start reaping dividends, no longer paying for unseen liabilities.

Which doesn’t cost a fortune, or anything like it.

But that’s what you COULD lose, isn’t it?

One really bad unintended mistake could cost the whole business.

Unless you lose and win.

Lose the germs, and people stop coming to work ill. They’re on full song, feeling good and going for it – and earning every penny of their salaries.

And all those losses you never knew you were making?

All gone. Now it’s money for jam.

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.

Reference links checked and working at time of posting.  However, some URLs may be taken down or re-sited later. If your link goes nowhere or you get an Error 404 message, please accept our apologies.

Get one third extra staff – at no extra cost

One third more staff
Claw back time lost to being unwell at work, and every team member can give you a third of themselves extra

Extra staff. How to afford them? Where to put them? What will the shareholders say?

Except these are no ordinary extra staff.

The extra you know

They’re experienced and known to you. Trusted, with proven track records. Valued performers with first-hand knowledge of your business and its customers.

Already in place and up to speed.

Extra special, like they were meant for the role. Hand-picked by you, which of course they are.

Because, yes – they ARE your special team. Only there’s one third more of them.

One third more time, more effort, more expertise, more guiding hands.

Larger than life and already giving you extra.

With never a murmur about overtime or extra salary.

Doing what they’ve always done, only one third more of it.

Smiling about it too. Happy to be there and going for it. Extra revved up, extra enthusiastic, extra prepared to take on the world and win.

And all achievable right now, without extra cost.

You just have to give the nod. Sign off on the nixing the hurdle that’s holding them back – the ever-present obstacle that stops them doing their job fully.

Unwell at work holds them back

Latch onto that thought – fully.

Because however good they are, that’s not what any staff are delivering at the moment.

Chances are, if your business is like most others, they’re only capable of nine months out of every twelve. That’s what you get in real terms – and that’s what you’re paying for.

The rest of the time, however dedicated and committed they might be, they’re just not up to it.

Illness holds them back, sapping their strength and concentration. Causing their work to slip below par – so it takes longer, or has to be done again.

Or worse, goes pear-shaped and winds up being a liability.

Not something you expect from a professional.

But that’s what happens when they insist on coming to work with a stinker of a cold, their dog of twelve wonderful years just died – and their other half is also at work, nursing a sprained wrist and bruised coccyx from slipping and falling on ice.

The cost of unwellness

You can see it happening, can’t you? And where do you think their poor head is, trying to cope with that AND push your sales over-target for the third month running?

Unwell at work, right?

Partly caused by germs, partly caused by grief, partly caused by worry.

Oh yes, and while you think about it, those germs are exploding round the office with every hacking cough and 20-megaton sneeze.

So it’s not just one professional, limping along under par – pretty soon it will be the rest of them. The whole office, off-colour at once. All at their desks and trying – but with the best will in the world, nowhere close to making it.

That’s what held back is – being unwell at work. Not bad enough to be home in bed, at least that’s contained and planned for.

No, this is worse. Sometimes people forcing themselves to keep going. Fear of looking like wimps, anxious not to overload colleagues, super gung-ho to get results, or just so depressed that coming to work is some kind of therapy.

OK, so give the nod.

Because people are like that 57.5 days a year, according to research. Almost three working months of effort and concentration. Lost to stomach cramps, headache, colds, flu, back pain, muscle spasm, vomiting, diarrhoea, you name it.

Pay for twelve months, get nine

You pay for twelve months at full power. You get nine months – with the rest in unpredictable blips and snatches.

And your staff are miserable with it, knowing they’re under-performing.

Prevent them being unwell and they’ll gladly give the three months you’re not getting. One third extra on the nine-month years you’ve been used to – no wonder productivity is a challenge!

So eliminate the germs that cause such mayhem. Germs in the workplace that everybody breathes and touches in the shared existence of professionals working closely together.

Take away the grief of these symptoms, and your people become like new beings. Plus you show you’re thinking of them and it makes them feel good. Get the place sterilised and everybody is razzling. Full marks for motivation.

Which can stretch a lot further if you’ve a mind to. By giving some of that extra time you’ve won back again.

Time, the healer

You see, germs are a big chunk of being unwell at work, but not all of it. There’s still the head stuff of emotion and circling thoughts. Coping with anguish and worries – often nothing to do with work, though there’s plenty of that too. Relationship issues and confidence crises, even among the toughest.

A lot of these you can fix with time – because you’ve got it. Three working months per team member before you start losing on where you are at the moment. Plenty of time to take off and sort out worries – see the bank manger, get the parcel from Argos, check the bullying at school,  see to the ailing budgerigar, or just stay quiet and grieve.

Time too, to step in and find out about work issues. They might be small on the surface, but they’re monumental to the person feeling them. And nothing reassures more than the boss being involved enough to sort things out. If the Big Guy’s got time for it, this can only be the right place to work.

Which leaves muscle pain and long-lasting conditions. But even here, time has therapy. Things take longer with physical pain, but patience takes away the feeling of being crowded for results. Things can be taken easy and you’ve got time to give away. 57.5 days per staff member to be exact.

Extra productivity

So what have you got?

No more germs, no more illnesses to catch. No more unwell at work – or at least vastly reduced. Extra professional staff hours from a team you already know and trust – out of the blue, at no extra cost in salaries, overtime, holidays or anything.

Just the odd £30 a day to keep the germs away, and you’re laughing.

Which brings us to your next problem.

What are you going to do with all that extra productivity?

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.

Reference links checked and working at time of posting.  However, some URLs may be taken down or re-sited later. If your link goes nowhere or you get an Error 404 message, please accept our apologies.

The virtual pay rise: without paying extra, how everyone acts like you have

Business team celebrating
Giving everybody feelgood is just like a pay rise – and you save thousands!

It’s feelgood all round. Extra enthusiasm, extra commitment, extra effort – and all on the same salary everybody’s getting now.

Your team are switched on and going for it – pushing productivity through the roof.

Too good to be true?

Actually no, it’s achievable right now – and easier than you think.

The pay rise that costs nothing

Without stretching anybody either. They’re all on the same workload, working the same hours – no slaving into the evening or taking stuff home. Doing exactly the same thing, but doing it better.

You see, it’s not MORE that they’re giving – more effort, more concentration, more input.

The difference is that you’re removing the gremlins that HOLD THEM BACK.

You read that right, HOLD THEM BACK.

Because you might think your team are giving their all – and they might too.

But reality is, they’re underperforming. Always have done.

And always will, unless you do something about it – an experience shared by every business.

You are your own example

You’re even underperforming yourself. You’re a human being, just like them, so you personally feel the same hindrances.

Humour us, and just pause a while.

How do you feel?

A bit of a sniffle because it’s winter. Head a bit stuffy in the heated office. Muscles still twingeing from the weekend’s DIY. Which means you’re not exactly 100 per, are you? You’re a bit down, but you ignore it. Put it to the back of your mind, so you can get on with things.

Full marks for commitment, but how about concentration?

That razor sharp mind that got you where you are is not as quick as it might be, is it? OK with routine, but dragging its heels on the real stuff. Straining for that competitive edge where it counts.

No, it’s not a criticism. And you’re not alone. So don’t worry, we all feel like that.

Not all the time, obviously. But often enough that our functioning is under par a lot of the time, not fully capable of giving our all.

And this might be us on a good day. On a bad one, it’s more of a struggle.

Like when that cold or flu really takes hold. Not so bad that you can’t come to work, but enough to make you seriously miserable inside.

Uh, huh.  So how good is your concentration now?

The world is not co-operating, is it? Making everything more difficult.

For instance, how much longer does it take to do things? How sure are you that you’re doing everything accurately? Bit ratty are you, with colleagues and customers – rubbing a few of them up the wrong way?

There’s a price tag to all that, and it’s impaired productivity. Not up to standard, not up- to scratch, a possible loss-maker on top of the wheelspin that impaired concentration has already caused.

Presenteeism

Presenteeism, it’s called – the downside of being unwell at work. And it happens to all of us more often than we think.

Our own perception is we’re on top of things pretty well all the time. Reality is, research has us underperforming every three days or so.

And right there is why presenteeism costs probably TEN TIMES MORE than absenteeism – £290 billion vs £29 billion. 57.5 days of lost productivity for every employee, every year – almost three working months.

Which is where we come from with a virtual pay rise.

If you could take away the gremlins that make people feel off colour every few days, they would immediately perform better. Instead of being three months short of effort for every salary, you’d get full twelve months’ ration. Productivity up a third, just by removing the hindrances.

In other words, by removing the causes that make people feel off colour in the first place.

By removing the germs that make them feel so challenged.

Take away the gremlins

Germs?

Oh yes. Like it or not, with lots of people working on top of each other, all in the same space, every workplace is riddled with them. We just don’t see them, so we don’t recognise that they’re there.

Meanwhile

Our own personal germ count is even worse, for the same reason – we can’t see germs, so never think that they are there. So gruesome as it is,

OK, so how do you get rid of germs?

That matronly voice is your mother and your mother’s mother, telling you to wash your hands. On top of which, going over your desk with antibacterial wipes is a step in the right direction.

But how about all the high touch objects that everyone shares – light switches, door handles, touch screens, keypads? Start wiping those and you’ll never get any work done, the whole day will be charring out the place.

Which is how it’s done of course, piggy-backed with regular office cleaning outside hours. And done properly, a procedure that eliminates ALL germs completely – the whole place sterile and totally safe, every morning when the team arrives for a new day.

The productivity prize

And here we go with the pay rise again.

Because what happens when there’s no germs around to make the team feel unwell?

  • They feel better, yes – so they’re better able to concentrate. To do it for longer and more incisively.
  • They’re bright-eyed and positive – more in harmony, finding it easier to do things.
  • Holding back? Most of them are quite the opposite – gung-ho and wanting to do things. They have their own careers to push , and can feel themselves doing it.

Which means a whole attitude shift. From bumbling along as normal to wanting to win and going for it.

So ask yourself, what is the quality of their work now – the level of their productivity?

And all without a pay rise – just looking out for their workplace health protection and showing your team that you care personally.

Three working months per team member that could be – in additional work capability. Effort and input you’ve never had before, but been paying for all along. Enough to bankroll a real pay rise if you’ve a mind.

Maybe you should go ahead and give it to them. They’ve earned it.

And with a real pay rise out of the blue, there’ll be nothing to HOLD THEM BACK then.

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.

Reference links checked and working at time of posting.  However, some URLs may be taken down or re-sited later. If your link goes nowhere or you get an Error 404 message, please accept our apologies.

Staff illnesses cost us £319 BILLION a year – and our only protection is a flu jab?

How good is anyone’s work when not feeling well? How much does it cost in lost time and mistakes? Photo by Morgan Basham on Unsplash

That annual office flu jab is not exactly the best protection .

Only 20% effective against this year’s H3N2 virus. And hardly at all against flanking H1N1, B/Yamagata or B/Victoria strains.

And zero of course against the billions and billions of other germs that surround us every day.

Like your favourite and ours at this time of the year – the winter vomiting bug, norovirus. Or its happy gastric playmates – salmonella, campylobacter, e.coli. Pick any you like, between them they make us feel lousy 57.5 days a year.

Unwell at work

Not off sick and languishing in our beds mind – just ill enough to give us a horrible day at work. Barely able to cope and dying for five o’clock to come round and put us out of our misery.

Especially if it’s legionnaire’s disease.

Never heard of it? Very few of us have – until it crops up on OUR watch.

That’s when Health & Safety throw the protection book at you. No excuse,, see?

You’ve never heard of this thing, yet they’ll fine you A MILLION QUID or more for not providing protection. A nasty like pneumonia that breeds in water tanks and pipes, then goes riding around in the aircon system.

One whiff of that and staff could die. Which is why Health & Safety come down heavy if you don’t take precautions.

A percentage of turnover plus a custodial sentence?

Par for the course.

G4S Cash Solutions had to cough up £1.8 million.  And the £1 million fine for retailers JTF Wholesale just about put them out of business when two customers died and nineteen others needed treatment.

Don’t mess with Health & Safety

Which is why protection regulations are chiselled in stone at HSE’s Head Office in Bootle, Merseyside.

By law you have to keep staff safe and protected. Not just from the molten metal machinery on the factory floor – but from pretty well any hazard that could harm staff wellbeing. Even the deadly bubonic plague, brought back invisibly from last month’s sales trip to Madagascar.

Be found negligent and you could be facing a corporate manslaughter charge, just for neglecting a few invisible germs.

Yes, you could get banged up for it.  But more likely on your way to being broke first.

Which where we get that £319 billion from. The combined cost of sickness absenteeism – £29 billion from being off sick from work. And the TEN TIMES greater cost of sickness presenteeism  – £290 billion from people working at their desks unwell.

Spiralling knock-ons

Scary costs, yes – and they could easily be a lot worse. Because how good is productivity when staff struggle through their workloads feeling like death? How much should you add for mistakes, oversights, damaged relationships and having to repeat things over and over?

Without wanting to be prophets of doom, here’s a simple calculator to help work it out.

Scarier still is that most illnesses at work probably ORIGINATE there too.

You can’t see germs. But count on it, they’re there alright – and the track record for most workplaces is not good.

Workplace health hazards

To make things worse, most of us have really lax personal hygiene as well.

Get the picture? Already ten to one, you’re in dereliction of ensuring staff protection from germs. Added to which what would shareholders say if they knew the real impact of workplace health hazards against productivity?

Bad, bad, yes – but it doesn’t have to be a disaster.

Get out of jail free

Because germs can be neutralised in as little as forty minutes for around £30 a day. No viruses, no bacteria, everything sterilised to zero everywhere in the office.

Real protection – with all germs safely eliminated after everyone has gone home at night.

Worth the money?

You tell us.

In one hit you reclaim most of the sickness costs of both absenteeism and presenteeism. All except those caused by muscular pain and being stressed out.

With staff back to feeling healthy and revved up, productivity starts nudging upwards again. Health & Safety are off your back with all hazards removed. And chances are good you don’t even need company flu jabs any more.

Amazing what a little protection buys, isn’t it?

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.

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.

Wow, one-third more output without buying new tech

Business on time
People assets are not like computers, their output feeds on the time you give them

It can be done. One-third more output with exactly the same resources you are using now. Same infrastructure, same people, same business plan.

You just have to get your head round how it’s done.

Change the way you think

Because the big change is attitude shift – changing the way you think about how you value your assets.

Yes, it’s the Twenty-First Century so a lot rides on technology. Every business needs IT – now should you go AI or VR?

A big investment, technology. The key to output efficiency pretty well everywhere. Which probably means you’re tight on security to protect it. And rightly paranoid about keeping performance tiptop, being fully compliant, maintaining momentum at the cutting edge of competitiveness.

Not wrong, it’s a major asset. But there’s another, even bigger.

Your people.

Without them doing the driving, all the technology in the world doesn’t amount to a row of beans. Oh sure, a lot can be done with full automation. But if you want to move forward, to duck and dive successfully ahead of everyone else, it’s your people making it happen hands on.

Yes people. A challenge to manage even with top-notch HR. Complex, changeable and often unpredictable. Yet without them, output would be zero.

OK, so ask yourself a question.

People assets are not the same

Do you look after your people assets with the same care as your technology?

If a connection goes down or a server glitches, you probably have IT on the spot within minutes, right? Hiccups in software or interrupted data flow, the experts are on it pretty well immediately.

Uh huh. And if one of your people assets goes down?

It’s only a cold, but no big deal – everybody gets them, no reason to stop working. So cough-sniffle, they stay sat their desk, office discipline and all that – keeping up the work ethic.

Yeah, right. Except if that was a computer, there’d be a replacement in there PDQ – and geeks crawling all over it to find out what went wrong. Time is money and you can’t afford to be offline.

Meanwhile, it’s not actually a cold, it’s the incubation stage of Aussie flu. But there your people asset  sits, heroic at their desk – a shining example of loyalty and commitment. Quite right too, if you gave them time off they’d only take advantage of it, right?

Maybe in Nineteenth Century salt mines.

But what makes a PERSON glitch different from an IT one? You can’t tell a computer, “take two paracetamol and call me in the morning”.

Time to be offline

Even so, working with a cold means under-performing – not fully concentrating, making mistakes, slowing output, costing money. So why isn’t the people unit booked offline? Why aren’t the geeks all over the issue to suss it out and take care of it?

Because yes, there’s a problem – and it’s a virus. And nothing scares the daylights out of IT and management more than a virus running amok in the company system.

But a people asset with a virus?

Maybe grudgingly let off work for a day or too. Though the damage is done, isn’t it? The Aussie flu is incubating in several more assets at the same time. Passed on from the original infection – as attachments to keypads, touchscreens, or simply documents hitting the in-tray. Because a person has no spam filter or scanning security to warn that anything is infected.

And so it goes – more not concentrating, more mistakes, slower output, even more money. If not Aussie flu, then something else. Because we humans might think we’re untouchable – it’s OTHER PEOPLE who catch MERS, SARS, MRSA, or non- acronym ailments like pneumonia, e.coli, salmonella, norovirus, or any one of a billion others.

Until we catch it too, but nobody gives us time.

Time changes everything

Which is where the big attitude shift comes in, giving your people assets time.

Because right now, today, every one of us succumbs to some kind of ailing condition every three days or so. A headache, a pulled muscle, a paper cut. And very frequently, something more serious. An allergy, stomach condition or emotional stress.

Again, no big deal. Except often it is, but we’re terrified about job security. So we come to work anyway – showing the flag. Not me, I’m not the weak one, I’m here for the long haul.

Take emotional stress – a third of the reasons why people assets have to go offline from work. It’s not a business issue that their kids are being bullied at school, that ma-in-law is diagnosed with cancer, or the bank has pulled the plug on the mortgage.

They sure as hell matter to the people asset though. To the point that they can’t think straight, which is why the fender-bender in the carpark. And you don’t know it yet, but the decimal point that got missed on the tender documents, so you’re committed to doing the job at a tenth of the cost – goodbye to any profits for the next five years.

Or not. Because it’s the easiest thing in the world to say, “Don’t worry, take as long as you need and sort it, we’ll keep your seat warm for when you come back.”

Giveaway downtime

Yeah downtime, giving it away.

Except you’re giving it away already though you don’t know it. And you’ve already paid for it.

Health issues at work – from sickness, mental anguish or on-going muscular conditions – affect ALL people assets for 57.5 days a year on average. Almost three working months. Three working months during which work is impaired by lesser concentrating, inevitable mistakes, and slower than ever output.

Which means people are only fully productive nine months of the year. But your expectation is for a full twelve months – and that’s what you pay for.

Excuse us, but you’ve got 57.5 days to play with that you can give away however you like.

Take three days off, and come back when you’re better.
Sure, go see the specialist, get that therapy started.
Of course, go to the funeral, family come first.
Yes, your daughter’s concert is fine – and bring me back some photos.

Give that time away and you get it back with interest. Who wouldn’t feel committed, working for you? Who wouldn’t want to go the extra mile? And who wouldn’t tell the competitor trying to poach them to go and blow bubbles?

Hail to the hero

All of a sardine you’re the hero, the one everybody wants to work for. You understand, you care, you’re a people person. You give away time because you know how people tick.

And you make time too, getting some of your own back.

Once you recognise illness at work as a challenge that can be beaten, you can stop it happening. Prevent germs in the workplace and there’s no illness for anyone to catch – or to pass on if they brought it in from outside. All it takes is nightly sterilising treatment.

OK, so you’ve clobbered the germs and defused the stress – that leaves the muscular aches and pains. Worth your while to get a massage machine and a visiting therapist. Because now you’ve solved what you’re losing 57.5 days a year for.

Looks kinda nice on the balance sheet too. Up till now you’ve been paying 12 months salary, but only getting 9 months’ worth. Now you’re gaining the best part of another 3 months worth – one-third more for the same money.

One-third more output – and all you did was change the way you think about things.

Now with the extra money you make, you can afford the technology you were looking at but didn’t dare invest in before.

Easy-peasy now though.

AND you’re ready to take on the 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.

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.