Cleaning your way to a more productive workforce
In data released this year, the Office for National Statistics estimated that over 400 million working days were lost due to sickness absence by UK workers between 2013 and 2015, with 138.7 million working days lost in 2015 alone.
These are startling figures, and as well as the impact on workers’ wellbeing, they reveal the extent of lost productivity caused by sickness absence, which in turn has an impact on a business’s wellbeing.
While strong occupational health support can help employees cope with longer term conditions, minor illnesses like the common cold can take a major toll on a workforce, spreading through offices like wildfire if left unchecked.
Highly contagious viral illnesses including the common cold, influenza and norovirus tend to increase in the winter months, but employers and facilities managers can guard against the spread of these minor illnesses by maintaining a strong office cleaning and hygiene regime.
Here are five top tips for reducing workplace absenteeism this winter:
- Ensure hand hygiene systems in the washroom and the office are well-equipped and accessible, and promote hand washing with posters and information campaigns.
- Target germ hot spots for extra cleaning – lift buttons, kettles, microwaves, door handles, railings and other frequently used objects.
- Establish a regular and thorough cleaning schedule for the entire building, and review this schedule frequently looking for ways to improve and update.
- Introduce clear desk initiatives, which can bring additional benefits including increasing staff organisation and safety.
- Employees shouldn’t feel under pressure to come into the office when obviously unwell, this way infections can be prevented from entering the office in the first place, and lead to a less stressed workforce.
Organisations could also consider appointing a Health and Well-being Champion, or champions, to ensure that initiatives are communicated throughout the business and to encourage healthy workplace thinking.
Julius Rutherfoord retains the prestigious Kimberly-Clark Professional Golden Service Award – Healthy Workplace. The award recognises our home, The Tramshed, as one of the healthiest workplaces in the UK. We have taken significant steps to provide a more hygienic office environment to help reduce sickness and increase employee wellbeing.