Healthy Workplace Initiative
As a cleaning company, Julius Rutherfoord spends a lot of time and energy in positioning ourselves as the most innovative and quality-driven cleaning contractor in London. We believe in leading by example and wanted to challenge ourselves to make Julius Rutherfoord Head Office the Healthiest Workplace in the UK.
This ambitious programme led to the creation of the Julius Rutherfoord Healthy Workplace Initiative, a project we have initiated with the support of Kimberly-Clark. The goal is to achieve and maintain the highest levels of hygiene to assist with the wellbeing and good health of our staff, families, visitors and ultimately those of our clients.
The Healthy Workplace Initiative (HWI) works by promoting a healthier work culture and helping businesses to provide more hygienic workplace environments by improving hand hygiene and reducing the level of microbial contamination on surfaces within the office. These are known as ‘germ hotspots’ and include door handles, bannisters, photocopiers, kitchen surfaces, vending machines, mobile phones and other hand held technology. Harmful bacteria such as the Norovirus and Influenza can stay active on such surfaces for several days.
As you might expect from a cleaning company, our head offices were already immaculately clean, but to make a real difference to absenteeism and wellbeing, we needed to explore at a microbial level. To do this we undertook a number of swab tests using an ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) reader to measure bacteria levels and the results proved to be very interesting. The test identified that employee mobile phones and tablet computers carried high levels of bacteria, as well as some of the surfaces in the kitchen, whilst the levels taken from the sinks, taps and door handles in the toilets had lower levels. This intelligence helped us to identify areas for further improvement.
Julius Rutherfoord’s reaction to these findings lead to the creation of our own specially formulated mobile phone cleaning wipes. These cleaning wipes eradicate 99% of germs including the common cold, influenza and Norovirus whilst not damaging the surface of the phone or leaving smudges. We also quickly introduced measures to reduce bacteria levels in the kitchen, these included: staff awareness/training, installing anti-bacterial wipes, hand sanitisers and paper centre-feed machines.
All Head Office staff at Julius Rutherfoord have now attended a HWI training workshop and start-up event, where they learnt how easily germs can be spread from person to person within the office and what measures they can take to significantly reduce these risks. Since the initiatives launch on 21 December 2012, our HR manager is not only reporting a reduction in absenteeism levels due to sick days, but more importantly because our staff now know that they are working in a genuinely ‘healthy and clean’ workspace they have started to feel and behave healthier which has also lifted the levels of morale and motivation.