Productivity: how most British businesses are standing on the brake

Employee Health Protection
Not healthy – businesses spend a fortune on accelerating productivity, but peanuts on taking the brakes off

OK, so we’re lagging behind if you believe the Office for Budget Responsibility. Not keeping up, hanging onto our shekels, not investing in the future.

Doesn’t look like it with the new start-ups making the headlines. New ideas, new technology, the front-runners are showing the world.

Across the board though, there’s no doubt performance could be better. Bigger, more established businesses are not so quick to jump in the gaps – and too many cut corners with low income immigrant labour.

They might look like they’re trying to go places, but the fact is that pretty well all of them are standing on the brake. Holding back, without even knowing they’re doing it.

But as winter draws in and the days get colder, the evidence becomes more obvious.

The first sneeze, the first sore throat, the first coughing attack in the office. A team member gamely pushing themselves at their desk, determined not to give in to whatever bug it is – common cold, H3N2 Aussie flu virus, MERS, SARS, or any one of a billion possible illnesses.

No protection against germs

And that’s the clue – being unwell at work. Trying to keep going, but feeling like death warmed up – at what kind of capability level? 60% of their normal? 40%? 25%?

Under-powered performance and under-powered concentration. So the work load suffers and accuracy with it. Lots of good intentions, but unwell staff are unable to deliver their best – which means productivity can only take a dive.

And how long will it be before other team members start coughing too? Everyone sharing the same work space, breathing the same air, touching the same things – it’s going to happen isn’t it? What goes around, comes around – a setback is almost inevitable.

Which is what we mean by standing on the brake.

Because what do most businesses do about protecting staff from colds and flu – or anything else for that matter? A company flu jab, maybe – and that’s your lot.

And how about prevention?

It’s winter – so expectations  are high for norovirus,  the vomiting bug, to appear. What measures are taken against that?

Or legionnaire’s disease, a pneumonia-like killer that spreads through the air via the HVAC system? Neglect that one and it can cost millions in health and safety fines, as G4S Cash Solutions found out.

What about duty of care?

Also on top of the health risk, other hazards like mould and damp can trigger a £5K spot fine. Or as one charity found out, £12,000 in compensation and six months of expensive renovations.

That’s in addition to the 30 other notifiable diseases listed by Public Health England – along with 60 notifiable organisms that present a significant risk to human health. 90 illnesses any business is liable for if found negligent in duty of care.

All of which are expensive oversights to make. But a drop in the ocean compared to on-going unwell-at-work costs and the impact of under-performance on productivity.

Because unlike time off for sick leave, which for most people is just 6 days a year according to the CIPD – being unwell at work is likely to be 10 times that at 57.5 days a year, almost three working months.

Three working months of under-powered performance. And that’s for EVERY team member – from the lowliest apprentice to the top-ranking CEO – because we’re all human. No wonder productivity is less than it could be!

And the cause?

Germs holding us back

Sure, we’re exposed to germs all the time, so some of them may have come from outside.

Reality is though that we spend 90% of our time indoor, particularly in winter – and most of our waking hours are spent at work. So it’s no surprise our workplace is where we’re exposed the most.

On top of which, because we can’t see germs, we don’t imagine we’re at risk. We LOOK clean, therefore we are. But again in reality:

There’s another dimension too. Germs are so tiny, they’re airborne most of the time. And around 80% of any room space we work in is air.

We might clean our workplace thoroughly, scrub every surface within an inch of its life, but there’s no way to scrub the air. And in a study prepared for the Wall Street Journal, germs were found to spread from the front door handle to more than half the office in less than four hours.

Up in the air – and waiting

Uh huh, the air. We share it, we breathe it, we move through it – and all the time we’re immersed in germs, surrounded by them, constantly in contact.

Sometimes we fall victim, sometimes we’re lucky. We get something and throw it off quickly, or it has us seriously out of action for several days. We’re at constant hazard, yet how many businesses provide protection against it?

Surprisingly, nobody thinks about it, accepting getting unwell as a fact of life. Productivity with the brake on, even when money and technology are trying to accelerate it.

Yet releasing the brake is easy. Mist the place up with an effective biocide like ionised hydrogen peroxide, and ALL germs are eliminated in under an hour depending on room size. Throughout the air space, across all surfaces, and into all the nooks and crannies too.

Back to 100%

And with no germs to catch, there are no illnesses to fall victim to. Those three lost working months are restored, with team members able to perform at full capacity all the time – 33% more than they could previously.

33% better productivity.

The brake is well and truly off – there’s nothing to hold back from a rapidly brightening future.

Full throttle – look out world!

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 24 November 2017 @ 3:21 pm

Originally posted on 24 November 2017 @ 3:21 pm

HR’s new bankroll: hack proof staff health in the cloud – so no virus can crash your business again

Rocket penguin
Light-hearted escaping with the cloud – a cloud of hydrogen peroxide that is, the one that knocks out viruses and bacteria to keep workplaces healthy and safe

How much of a bankroll?

We’re talking thousands, maybe even tens of thousands.

It’s HR’s unexpected contribution to the bottom line. Maximising staff productivity up to a third more than you’re getting now – all on the same salary budget.

Easy-peasy too – by putting staff health in the cloud. An overnight bankroll from sickness costs.

Er, but it’s not the kind of cloud you might expect. Or the kind of virus.

Serious cloud, serious virus

This cloud is hydrogen peroxide, our own body’s natural killer of germs – rolling in all-penetrating mist through your workspace. Ionised so it reaches everywhere and grabbing with its electrostatic charge.

And the virus is biological – far more treacherous than any browser hacker or Trojan. One outbreak of norovirus could have your whole staff writhing with cramps for days. Spewing their guts out with projectile vomit- or ripping them apart with hell-fire diarrhoea.

Bacteria, viruses, fungi, mould – they none of them stand a chance.

The hydrogen peroxide oxidises them – destroying their cell structure. In a just a few minutes, your whole place is sterile.

Hmm, sterile – all germs knocked out, dead. No chance for anyone to catch a bug or infection, the workspace is safe.

Which means no-one going off sick from illness caught at work. No sick pay, no replacement staff costs – everyone’s at their desk working.

No unwell at work costs either. The price you pay for underpowered staff trying to do their jobs while they’re feeling like death. Taking ten times longer, making mistakes, snapping at customers, jeopardising business through sheer lack of concentration.

Computer crashes, fixable – staff crashes, hospital

That’s where the thousands come in. Not so much the absences, more the soldiering on against all odds – and inevitably making a hash of it. Ten times more than ordinary sick costs if you add it up. Thousands and thousands – and tens of thousands.

All that expenditure – and it happens to every organisation and every employee, everywhere. Drip, drip, more and more unfulfilled salary resource, unstoppably down the drain, every day.

Except now HR can snatch it back – a bankroll present to you of one-third more staff productivity. More effort, more input, for the same money you’re already paying – because now your staff capabilities are fully realised.

Because your most valuable assets are properly protected. Shielded from every kind of bug – common colds and flu, respiratory infections, tummy upsets and various kinds of gastroenteritis. And the serious illnesses too – legionella, TB, or even worse.

Over to you

You provide the daily sterilising – piggy-backed with regular cleaning perhaps, or from your own Hypersteriliser machine (a press-button automatic jobbie that does the place in minutes).

Your staff just get on with the job. Unhackable by bacteria or viruses.

A productivity bankroll out of the blue – just by being in the cloud.

Picture Copyright: lightwise / 123RF Stock Photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make that VERY expensive.

Unwell at work – the high cost of presenteeism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Checking for proof

How can you tell?

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

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

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

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

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

The upbeat power of health

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

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

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

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

It all adds up – being right.

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

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

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

Ready to take on the world.

Picture Copyright: andreypopov / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted on 28 March 2017 @ 12:49 pm

The shocking ransom you’re already paying for staff common colds

Ransom in a briefcase
Held to ransom by staff unwell at work – a cost you don’t see, but you’re already paying for it.

Don’t believe it’s a ransom?

Better get out your calculator.

The average adult comes down with four colds a year.

Not the kind of thing to need staying in bed for, so they come to work sniffle-snuffle, trying to ignore it.

And typically they’ll sit with that cold for seven days – and often a lot longer.

OK, so that’s 28 days a year – being at work, nursing a cold. Tissues all over the desk, exploding into sneezes every five minutes – going through the motions, trying to get some work done.

Hold that thought, going through the motions.  Not easy when they’re not feeling well, headache pounding, perhaps running a fever, barely able to speak with hoarse voice and constant coughing.

Iffy under-powered work levels

And what’s the quality of the work they’re capable of, feeling like that? 50% of normal? Less?

How good is their commitment to push hard, their attention to detail, their ability to relate to others without being ratty or irritable?

If they were off sick, they’d be costing you around £87 a day on average – from the CIPD’s annual survey into absence management.

28 days at £87 a day – more than the national minimum wage – that’s £2,436. A good month’s salary for some.

Almost a month-and-a-half in working days too.

But they’re not off sick, they’re at work. And remember, ALL staff members get colds. So that for every 12 months salary you pay, only 10½ are at full power.

The rest are bleary-eyed going through the motions at 50% strength or less, which is why being unwell at work costs 10 times more than staying at home sick.

Now you see why we say it’s a ransom. Because effectively, that £2,346 becomes £23,460 – and that’s for every staff member! There’s big money here, leaking away in thousands.

The unseen liability – on contact

Not that you’d notice, you’re paying the salaries anyway and getting a cold is no big deal. It’s par for the course. The penny never drops that you’re down in productivity and your poor staffer is costing you.

Opportunities get missed, jobs take longer to do or need to be done again, service levels slip – simply because it’s so difficult to focus and apply one’s all.

It gets worse.

Because other staff members are going to come down with it too.

No, not because of the sneezes and breathing over everyone – though that can happen.

Because of all the things the sufferer touches that other staffers touch too. Door handles, light switches, lift buttons, keypads, touch screens, documents – and the start button on the photocopier.

Yep, most transmission is via the hands – and then touching the sensitive areas around the eyes and mouth. Washing hands pretty well stops it, except for several horrific and very yucky truths:

Which means it’s not just a common cold that staff are at risk of – it’s other downers too. Other respiratory problems like MERS, SARS or legionella (a disease notifiable by law). Tummy upsets from salmonella, campylobacter, norovirus and e.coli.

Colds take them down for 28 days a year. Other bugs hit them almost the same. That’s THREE WORKING MONTHS out of every year – you’re bankrolling germs to become millionnaires!

Sidestep the ransom

All that money – ALREADY going down the drain. All those staffers, suffering in YOUR workplace – and what are you doing about it?

No, we’re not blaming you. Being unwell at work is so normal, most of us never even think about it. Or the shocking amounts of money that disappear without trace. Like we said, a ransom. And it’s an invisible overhead. The cost of doing business with germs.

Take out the germs though, and you can grab that ransom back. Eliminate all viruses and bacteria, all fungi and mould, every day from your workplace.

With zero germ threshold, there ARE  no bugs for anyone to catch. Not on surfaces, not in the air, not anywhere. They’ve all been oxidised to nothing with hydrogen peroxide – a neat trick your cleaning service can easily add to the daily routine they’re already offering.

Time to start winning

Right – now your premises are safe, secure – and sterile.

Staffers will still come in unwell of course, you can’t stop them picking up bugs elsewhere. And parents with kids are exposed to colds far more than the rest of us. 12 times a year on average – from the other 350-odd kids at school.

But at least you know you’re protecting staff as well as you can. Protecting your cash resources as well, maximising your talent, strengthening your bottom line in a way you never thought of before. By avoiding a ransom you should never  have to pay.

Oh yes – and if anybody still comes in with a cold, trying to be a hero, send them home.

It’ll cost you 10 times less than letting them stay at work, so you’re still ahead.

Picture Copyright: hedgehog / 123RF Stock Photo

Better health, better productivity, better profits – and you’re still dragging heels over daily germ protection?

Thinking exec
Decisions, decisions – not hard when you think of the money getting rid of germs can make

Going to wait till a headache and scratchy throat slow your own productivity?

Or dump the whole idea because you’ve never done it before, so why start now?

Besides, since you’ve already actioned generous sick pay, what do germs have to do with it?

Let’s go back to your headache.

Like, how’s your business brain functioning with all that pounding? Difficult to concentrate when your mind’s like boiled knitting – but the job’s time-sensitive, so you’ve got to decide now.

Uh huh. And how good is the quality of that decision? How good is the quality of anything if you’re unwell at work? You’re not yourself, your reflexes are shot, you’re loose cannon more than asset. How long before you do some real damage?

Unwell at work costs money

Extreme thinking maybe, but you can see it happening.

Unwell at work is way more hazardous than booking off sick – and happens ten times more often. 57.5 days a year on average – and that’s per staff member. Nearly THREE WORKING MONTHS.

You’re paying twelve month salaries – but against 57.5 days of unwell at work, staff can only deliver nine. The rest of the time they’re at their desks,  battling to go through the motions. 50% productivity or less – how much business sense is that?

OK, maybe their illness came from outside, but why take chances?

Sitting there, they’re going to spread it around – coughs, sneezes, or simply handling the same documents. Pretty soon the whole place will come down with the same thing. A couple of the weaker ones off sick maybe, but most of them heroes, soldiering on.

Inevitable really, with professionally revved-up people working close together, sharing the same office space, breathing the same air. All concentrated nicely where germs can find the most victims and spread most effectively.

But at what cost in mistakes, lost business, slipped quality standards or missed deadlines?

Invisible losses – all unnecessary

All of which you’re paying for – so heroes they might be, they might as well not be there. At a cost of ten times your absenteeism allowance, however generous. Plus money down the tubes from unwanted screw-ups.

And all largely preventable – just by getting rid of the germs.

All of them in your workplace – viruses, bacteria, fungi, mould, the lot – 99.9999% of them, oxidised to nothing.  Gone completely – from all surfaces, the walls, the floor, the ceiling – the air itself.

Taken out everywhere by omni-dispersing hydrogen peroxide mist – the same stuff our own bodies produce to fight infection.

Sure, there’ll still be staff who bring in their own. Bugs picked up from dropping the kids at school, collywobbles from touching the grab handles on the tube.

But in their place of work, when they come in every morning, the whole place is sterile. A germ-free zero threshold where they’re safe and secure.

Safe from the minor illnesses that slow them down and impair their judgement.

And safe from more serious bugs, like SARS or legionnaire’s disease – both notifiable diseases and your legal duty to protect them against.  With heavy fines or even prison awaiting if you don’t.

Feel-good dividend

Plus there’s the upside.

With no germs to slow them down, staff can now turn in a full year’s productivity instead of nine months – up by a third at no extra cost to you, it’s already part of their pay packets.

On top of which is the feel-good factor – the tidal wave of get-up-and-go that happens when close colleagues all vibe well together – healthy, positive and wanting to achieve.

A few hundred quid on your regular cleaning bill – and you’ve not just rescued productivity, you’ve shot it into orbit. In efficiency alone you’re ahead of the game – and how good is that going to look on your balance sheet?

So – germ protection, yeah? Keeping your staff healthy. Your legal duty and serious business sense.

Are you going to sit around thinking some more, or grab yourself some profits?

Picture Copyright: lighthunter / 123RF Stock Photo

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

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

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

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.

https://hyperhygiene.co.uk/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

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