with Janet Park, cleaning director – centre of excellence
A 2017 survey of 1,000 UK employees found that 90% of respondents go into their workplace while feeling poorly. This is unchanged from similar research a year ago(1). Just over half of those respondents said they would go into work if they had a cold or flu despite the chance of spreading the virus to colleagues.
Unwell employees are likely to be unproductive and unfocused. But more importantly, they risk passing bacteria and viruses onto colleagues and building users.
Minor illnesses such as coughs and colds accounted for 34 million days lost due to sickness across the UK in 2016(2).
Shared IT equipment such as keyboards, telephones and printers, as well as common touch points such as door knobs, vending machines and coffee machines are perfect places to leave and pick up bacteria and viruses. And as our work spaces increasingly become open plan and more collaborative, the spread of viruses continues to increase. It is therefore, vital to contain the spread of bacteria and viruses as effectively as possible.
Periodic specialist cleaning can protect shared IT equipment by leaving a fine anti-bacterial mist that cannot be seen, felt or smelt. Daily office cleans will also reduce live bacteria.
A healthy workplace inspires wellbeing. And there are a few simple steps employers can take to protect employees from hidden threats of colds and flu’s:
- Encourage building users to frequently wash their hands.
- Provide hand sanitizer in easily accessible common areas across all floors.
- Encourage building users to sneeze and cough into tissues – rather than their hands – then throw the used tissues in the bin.
- Promote a clear desk policy to remove any places for germs and bacteria to live.
- Offer in-house flu shots – the cost to vaccinate your employees each year will be returned through reduced absenteeism, and people will be more likely to get vaccinated if it’s convenient for them to do so.
- Offer green tea along with coffee and tea – green tea is believed to stimulate the immune system to fight off infections.
Read our Winter Readiness guide here for more helpful tips for your business and people to weather the winter.
(1) The Mirror, ‘Half fo workers would go into the office if they had the flu’, 9 October 2017
(2) The Guardian, ‘UK workers record lowest rate of sick days since records began’, 9 March 2017