Workplace germs never worried us before, why are they so urgent now?

Terrified businesswoman
Not worried about workplace germs? Not if you’ve taken precautions – like sterilising the place every night

The world has changed since we last looked. What worried us then is different to now.

Back then, germs were a fact of life. You caught a cold, you sneezed your way through it. And everyone else caught it too.

Now you catch a cold, you can bring a whole business down. And we’re not even thinking coronavirus yet.

Heavyweight experts working to a deadline – one of them conks, the whole project goes down the tubes. The whole team off sick, total disaster.

The germs were always there. But with expectations of 100% performance all of the time, that’s rapidly becoming unachievable.

No wonder we’re all worried.

And people assets these days are expensive. They need to be motivated. Constantly persuaded to stay and not join the competition.

The threat we dare not ignore

Which is why bosses spend thousands on workplace wellness programmes. To keep staff sweet and wanting to perform.

With things like flu vaccinations, health and lifestyle coaching, stop smoking programmes, nap rooms, fresh fruit and vegetables, stress reduction programmes, fitness programmes and gym membership, on-site medical clinics, weight loss clinics, therapy and massage, right down to company fitness trackers.

Well, well, well.

Workplace wellness – all about wellbeing.

Nothing about KEEPING staff well and healthy healthy. Or protecting them from stress and health threats. Not the slightest mention of AVOIDING germs.

Yet germs have always been with us – and always will be.

But because we’re expected to perform 100% of the time, nobody would ever dare let a germ slow them down. Not unless it was serious. Doctor, medicine and maybe even hospital. Certainly days off.

Which is unacceptable, and possibly a career threat – would our jobs still be there when we came back?

Unwell at work – more costly than sick leave

So if germs ever strike us, we try to ignore them. Shuffling in to work, feeling like death, determined to go through the motions. “Presenteeism” it’s called – 10 times more costly than regular sick leave.

We grit our teeth and the childhood memories kick in – Nan and Grandad never gave in to colds like this. They had them, sure – but seemed better able to cope. Stronger somehow.

Which indeed they were. More resilient too.

And not because our lifestyles are softer. We don’t have the same immunities that they had. We’re more sensitive. More susceptible to infections as well.

Not that we’re worried about it. We just go to the Doc, get some pills – and hey-ho, it’s off to work we go.

Uh huh.

Those pills.

Antibiotics, right? The magic medicines Nan and Grandad never had. All-round fixer-uppers – we strong-arm the Doc for them for every little ailment. Grow up with them  through all the childhood illnesses. So that by the time they’re twenty, the average teenager has been on antibiotics 17 times.

Which means our bodies have an easier time than our grand-parents’ did. Growing up without the hard fights that they went through. Making us softer, gentler, weaker.

Without all the immunities that they had too.

Atom bombs in our gut

Every time we take antibiotics, our microbiome goes through a major upheaval. Down in our gut are 12 trillion bacteria living in harmony with us – aiding our digestion, creating proteins, managing our immune systems and a thousand other things.

Releasing an antibiotic into that lot is like setting off an atomic bomb. Antibiotics work by killing bacteria – and they do. Taking out the bad guys giving us a hard time – but taking out a lot of the good guys too.

Effective, yes – but not so good at targeting only the right ones. Sure there’s thousands of others to replace the casualties . But often the rarer ones are wiped out completely. And once they’re gone, they’re gone. We recover from our illness, yes – but our bodies never fully return to the way they were.

So that generation to generation, our immunities diminish. The good bacteria that defend us from a particular kind of bad ones just aren’t there any more.

Not really a problem because our lifestyles are so much better than our grand-parents’ were. Better food, better living conditions, better hygiene standards, better medical care.

Except that’s not our only exposure to antibiotics.

Super efficient growth boosters

Because agriculture uses them as growth boosters, they’re in everything we eat as well. Micro-doses in all our meat, fish, vegetables, cereals, grain and fruit.

Which work on our bodies in exactly the same way as the farmers use them for. They fatten us up.

Right there is the greatest overlooked problem of our time. Doctors are worried about our high exposure to antibiotics because bacteria are becoming resistant to them.  More rapidly than they would like, our miracle medicines are no longer making people better.

But they are making them fatter. Fatter and fatter and fatter. It’s staring us right in the face but nobody twigs it. We’re swallowing small amounts of highly efficient growth boosters every day, not realising that’s why two thirds of us are overweight or obese.

And what does obesity do? Sets our not-quite-as-strong-as-our-grandparents’-bodies on the long and very bumpy road to asthma, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. A road on which antibiotics no longer work – our miracle defences are taken away from us.

Which should explain why we ought to be worried about workplace germs.

So many of us herded together in the same space – breathing the same air and touching the same objects. It’s the ideal opportunity to catch each other’s germs and pass them on.

And those germs are there alright. Just as they always have been. In the air and on surfaces we share – touchscreens, keypads, light switches, door handles. Waiting to have a go at our less resilient and increasingly overweight bodies.

The nightly antidote

Yet overnight, those germs can be eliminated. In addition to the usual vacuuming and wipe downs, just follow up by misting with hydrogen peroxide and the whole place is sterilised. Germs are oxidised to nothing, there are simply no illnesses to catch.

OK, so it adds a few hundred to the monthly cleaning bill.

But the thousands saved by not trying to do our jobs tied down by a tummy upset or lingering flu? By not making mistakes or missing vital deadlines? Or infecting our high-powered colleagues on the tight deadline job that MUST be finished on time or the contract falls through the slats?

Yeah, we never worried about workplace germs before.

But we should now.

Unless of course we’re all safe and sterilised.

Then we’re not worried, we’re laughing.

Picture Copyright: wavebreakmediamicro / 123RF Stock Photo and sorad / 123RF Stock Photo

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 10 May 2017 @ 5:27 pm

Originally posted on 10 May 2017 @ 5:27 pm

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

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

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

Big numbers?


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

Get ready for some jaw-dropping math.

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

Black hole, about to go away

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

Double it, and that comes to £246.122 billion.

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

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

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

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

Uh huh.

Reaching for the impossible

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

Not exactly.

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

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

And 85% of £290 billion is..?

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

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

Basically impossible, right?


All hyped up, safe and secure

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

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

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

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

Press button easy

And the miracle machine that does all this?

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

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

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

Clawing money back from germs

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

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

They can certainly afford it.

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

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

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

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

Picture Copyright: citalliance / 123RF Stock Photo

Germs at work make even superstars incompetent

Stressed-out executive
Unwell at work – when even the most brilliant staffers can lose the plot

Incompetent. Incapable. Dodgy, like loose cannons.

That’s what staff are like when they’re not feeling well. Yet still they keep dragging themselves into work.

Blundering through the day. Making mistakes. Fumbling through jobs that will have to be done again.

Losing business and irritable with it. Costing money, though driven by the best of motives. More liability than asset.

All from some bug they picked up from their desk, or stirred around by the air-con.  Sneezed up by somebody else, who should be home in bed.

Or lurking on the touchscreen in the conference room.

The cost of presenteeism

Whatever it is – according to a presenteeism article in health and safety magazine EHS Today – it drains away 57.5 days of work capability per staff member every year. Almost 3 working MONTHS.

And that’s on top of the regular 6 days sick leave calculated by the CIPD in their annual Absence Management report.

A whopping 63.5 days of non-productivity that all organisations pay for. A whole third more working days of talent and capability than they’re getting right now. Wasted resources that could be turned into cash.

£££ going nowhere

How much cash?

Here’s a calculator to give you perspective – based on the two sources above.  If you were ever wondering how to achieve better efficiency – and substantial extra revenue without extra effort – your own figures could shock you.

And it doesn’t stop there.

Not at their best through no fault of their own – unwell, incompetent staffers cause strain among colleagues as well. The stress of covering errors and taking up the slack triggering a whole domino effect of faltering productivity across a further 40% of staff.

Serious money. And a serious problem that never occurs to anyone. Unseen and unrecognised – yet an accepted cost of doing business. Yeah, so people get ill, what can you do?

On the button

Actually, just press a button and the problem goes away.

The button on a Hypersteriliser machine that mists up the workplace with ionised hydrogen peroxide when staff are gone home. Oxidising ALL viruses and bacteria to oblivion so the whole place is sterile.

With no germs around, people can’t get ill. And a whole chunk of revenue you never saw before is suddenly dumped in your lap. Your bonus for getting rid of germs.

It won’t fix all ailments of course.

Some people have long term non-contagious conditions. And inevitable work stress brings other challenges. Depression and lack of confidence have dimmed many stars. Plus unavoidably, there are injuries and accidents.

Germs bad for business

But germs are the major chunk and just keep happening. Because though you might be able to protect your best assets at work, you can’t watch over them in the big wide world. They will go out there and catch a bug – too many unhygienic places and people.

Next thing, they’re at their desks. In the office, but totally out of it – doolally but incompetent . Present, but not correct.

Send them home, then press the button again. Get rid of their germs.

You don’t want to lose all that money, now you’ve just started to recover it.

With special thanks to EHS Today  and the CIPD.

Picture Copyright: BDS / 123RF Stock Photo

2017 bonus – productivity up a third with exactly the same staff

Revved-up team
When people feel well, they perform better. Help them perform all the time – you win, and so do they

Nothing to lose, you see. No coughs or colds. No sitting at a desk with a pounding headache. Productivity untouched.

All the hours you’re paying for at full strength. Easy peasy with staff revved up and going for it.

Nobody off sick while work takes a back seat.

Full performance

Nobody off-colour either. Going through the motions while they feel like death. Grumpy with customers, missing details, making mistakes but grimly determined.

No, no. None of that.

It’s your New Year’s present to them – and to yourself.

No more germs in the office.

No more picking up somebody else’s bug. No more sick days. No more off days. No more feeling less than 100%.

Up and ready, raring to go. Full of bounce and feeling good with it. On a high from being healthy and reacting to it. Ready to conquer the world.

That’s what you get when everyone’s on song. Maximum productivity, maximum efficiency, everyone motivated and WANTING to achieve – all 250 working days of the year.

Everyone worth every penny of their salary – and KNOWING they’re giving their best.

A little duty of care

And all it takes is a little extra attention. A little extra showing that their health is important – beyond cleaning the place every night, and keeping it neat and tidy. By getting rid of the germs that every workplace has – especially with lots of people all working together.

Yes, people DO get sick and need time off. Six days a year on average, according to the CIPD. And more often than not, from bugs picked up at work. Sore throat, sniffles, tummy problems – sometimes even more serious.

On top of that though, there’s all the days when people don’t feel well, but drag themselves into work anyway – what HR experts call presenteeism.

They might be there and committed, but their performance is hardly their best. How can it be, when everything is an effort, a challenge just to stay focused?

And what does that do to your business?

Not sick, not well either

According to a GCC report validated by the WHO, it affects 10 TIMES more than the standard 6 days off sick. A loss through under-powered performance of 60 days productivity – on top of the necessary absence. A total of 66 days that affects ALL OF US, not just the unlucky ones.

Which makes getting rid of germs a vital business necessity.

Around one-third of staff productivity is riding on it. Money that you’re already paying out, but getting nothing for. Cash that should be bank-rolling new projects and enabling new projects – instead of being wasted on cough, splutter, sneeze.

It’s so easily fixed too.

Every treatment of your workplace by a Hypersteriliser machine eliminates ALL viruses, bacteria, fungi and mould. First thing in the morning the place is sterile. Safe, secure and germ-free. All oxidised to nothing by hydrogen peroxide – the same stuff our own bodies produce naturally to fight germs.

Looking after the pennies

Oh sure, it’s an expense you don’t face at the moment. You could shove it aside and keep going as you always have. And keep paying for the 66 days of lost productivity every one of your staff is costing you – including yourself. It’s money you don’t see anyway, so what the heck?

Not a lot of sense to turning your back on it though, is there?

For not much more than you’re already paying for daily cleaning, you can have reliable workplace hygiene too. Be sure of full staff performance all the time. Get full value for money from every one of your high-powered team.

Plus the inevitable bonuses when everyone’s healthy and well. More smiles, more can-do, more attention to detail, more positive attitudes.

A lot of organisations would pay big money to achieve all of those. But you can do it with just the press of a button. The one on the Hypersteriliser that starts getting rid of germs.

The one that puts a whole new perspective on your all-up productivity.

Picture Copyright: iordani / 123RF Stock Photo

Why 80% of workplace germs never get removed

Woman - arms folded serious
All those germs – and most of us don’t even know

Unless it’s winter, with colds and flu weather chucking it down, you probably never think of workplace germs.

Count on it, they’re there – just waiting to find a weakness.

And more likely than not, lurking there unchallenged – even though the place gets cleaned out every evening.

Test for yourself.

Sit at your desk as normal. Now if we say to you “chewing gum territory“, you’ll get the idea.

Not so happy about reaching under there, huh? Can’t blame you. Maybe there’s a deposit, maybe there isn’t.

Untouched, unclean, unsafe

Then ask yourself, has it EVER been cleaned under there? How about under your chair? How about under other tables and things? Ew!

Yeah, right. Workplace germs de luxe.

There’s lots of places out of sight that don’t checked, ever. Out of the way places, not on the radar, too difficult to reach.

Try another test, still sitting at your desk.

Reach over your computer screen, as far as you can, and wipe your finger along the back edge of your desk.

Grime, grit and dust bunnies, huh?

However hot your cleaning team is, they don’t have time or the right gear to get to places like that. Nor will they try. All those wires, something could trigger a fire. Better to leave it alone, so they do.

Ditto for the jumble of cables behind the main office file server. Or behind anywhere – photocopier, whiteboards, cupboard – the same grime, grit and dust bunnies. Full time workplace germs.

Not the place to eat

Which means you might want to rethink your habit of eating al desko, which most of us do. There’s more workplace germs there than you think there are – and those pizza-drippy fingers going straight to keyboard aren’t exactly helping.

To gross yourself out even further, shine a torch between the keys on your keyboard. Or check the finger smears on your touchscreen. Visible signs of workplace germs. More gruesome than you thought, hey?

So even though the place LOOKS clean, swish and professional, you and your colleagues are more at hazard than you think. Workplace germs  all over. 10 million germs on your desk alone – and that’s just the average.

Easy lurking place for a grab-bag of unpleasant surprises. Like e.coli, salmonella, clostridium difficile, campylobacter, the superbug MRSA, cold and flu viruses or norovirus. Any one of them could put you off work with cramps, runs and diarrhoea – or even send you to hospital if it gets serious.

Not good.

Still sitting at your desk?

OK, now look at the space that all of you move around in. Yes, the air itself – the nothing that fills up most of the room.

Except it’s not nothing. Ever noticed how the sun’s rays catch dust particles when the angle is right? Sometimes so full of them you can’t see through – billions and billions of tiny specks.

Yes well, those are the ones visible to the naked eye. Most ordinary germs like staphylococcus or e.coli are 10,000 times smaller. And lighter too.

Those dust particles are there all the time – wafting, floating, swirling. You just don’t see them when the light is wrong.

Up in the air

Bacteria and viruses are there too. More workplace germs. Light enough that they may never drop to the floor. Too many air currents and temperature variations.

Which means forget what you’ve heard that not all germs are airborne. ALL germs ride the air as well as clinging to surfaces.

Get a big enough clump of them together at once – and they’ll do you down just as quickly as any you’ve picked up on your hands that are now transferring to your chicken caesar wrap.

There’s plenty other workplace germs around too – we bring them in with us. Each of us trails around our own personal cloud of bacteria, dead skin cells and other body detritus all the time – our uniquely individual bio-signature.

Most of them are benign to us, or even beneficial. But not necessarily to our colleagues. Because everyone’s different and so are their metabolisms, bacteria that are benign to us might be harmful to them. Or the other way around.

More days off sick without ever knowing why.

The safe escape

All entirely preventable.

Because professional though they are, the services that currently do the cleaning and germ disinfection are not adequate enough. Not if 80% germs against you is too big a risk. Too iffy against absenteeism, which currently costs the country £29 billion a year.

Time to get in the Hypersteriliser people – with a nifty machine about the size of a small wheelie-bin.

What it does is mist up the place with an ultra-fine, self-dispersing cloud of ionised hydrogen peroxide – stuff which gets everywhere, all the nooks and crannies. Behind and under everything too, the places we were concerned about earlier.

Potent, yes – but eco-friendly.

Ionising makes it a super-performer with just a 6% solution, like you can buy at the chemist.

Not so friendly with viruses and bacteria though. It reaches out and grabs them, ripping their cells apart. Give the stuff around 40 minutes in the average room and all germs are eliminated – at least, 99.9999% of them – a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6.

Which means next morning, the germ threshold is reduced to zero. The dust bunnies are still there of course, but the germs clinging to them are no more. There’s no germs in the air either, gone to  oblivion. The place is safe and germ-free for everyone who walks in.

Slightly better than the 80% workplace germs you started with, hey?

Picture Copyright: brendan80 / 123RF Stock Photo