The workplace is a breeding ground for germs – it has been found that the average work desk can be up to 100 times dirtier than your kitchen table, for instance, and 400 times less hygienic than the average toilet seat. When you’re working in close proximity with other colleagues, it’s no wonder that germs and illnesses can spread so quickly, leading to several employees needing sick days away from the office.
Industrial cleaning company, DCS Multiserve, explain why keeping your office clean should be viewed as an investment as it can save you money in the long term. In a recent report, it was revealed that sickness absences cost employers on average around £29 billion per annum. Here, we discuss the cost of sick days versus the cost of keeping your workplace clean and germ free. Could a clean office save you money in sickness pay-outs?
Sickness absence rates and costs
Around two million employees and 670 organisations were questioned as part of the UK’s biggest annual survey of sickness absence rates and costs. Research from this showed that during 2014, sickness absence averaged at 2.8% of working time per annum – that equates to 6.5 sick days per employee. In total, this cost employers an estimated £29 billion a year.
This high rate of absences is set to continue in 2017. So far this year, public sector organisations have witnessed a median of 3.5% of working time lost due to illness (8.1 days per employee) and 2.2% in private-sector organisations (5.1 days per employee). Without your employees, your company’s production rate is limited.
80% of infections are spread through being in contact with contaminated surfaces, meaning that your workplace could be the reason why your staff are picking up illnesses and infections – leading to sick days. Allowing germs to spread around the office can leave employers short staffed and out of pocket, so maybe it’s time to invest in an office cleaner?
Spreading illness in the office
Microbes and harmful germs are rife in the workplace. The average keyboard is home to approximately 16 million microbes alone – that’s around 3,295 microbes per square inch of your keyboard. Compare this to the fact there’s only around 49 microbes per square inch of a toilet seat, and it suddenly becomes apparent how dirty our keyboards are. And that’s no surprise when only 3% of offices are said to sufficiently clean their equipment – and 11% of employees never clean their keyboards.
Germs that can lead to the common cold can survive up to 3 days on workplace equipment, meaning that you could pick up the illness more than two days after something has been infected. Even more worrying is that more serious microbes such as MRSA can last anywhere between six weeks to seven months, highlighting how important it is to regularly clean work surfaces and equipment.
With regards to bathroom habits – 32% admitted to not washing their hands after going to the toilet, and a further 30% admit to only using water when cleaning their hands. From these facts, it’s no surprise that 24% of us have faecal bacteria on our hands, which is then transferred onto the surfaces which we touch. One single person carrying a virus will infect 50% of all equipment and fellow employees in the same vicinity within four hours. Killing germs sooner rather than later will reduce and prevent future contamination and the spread of infections around the office.
Costs of a cleaner
Some quick and cheap ways that you can improve the hygiene in your workplace include hand sanitising wipes and gel, regular desk and keyboard cleans and implementing a no food at your desk rule. However, you can’t expect your staff to clean the entire workplace on a daily basis to kill any germs that have set up home around the office. Hiring a cleaner, or cleaning company to clean your workplace is an investment which will in turn help to save you money in sick days.
On average, employers that hire an office cleaner for their workplace spend around £13 per hour, per cleaner. However, prices can vary on the size of your premises and what you require the cleaner to do. Quotes are unique to each business. It’s likely that you will not need your cleaner to work every hour of the working day – in most cases, a few hours are sufficient — that’s if the company you employ provides a reliable and quality service.
If you were to hire a cleaner to come in each working day, for two days, it would cost on average £130 per week. Presuming you require a cleaner for 50 weeks of the year, with two weeks off to account for Christmas and any office closures, it would cost approximately £6,760 per year, which is a worthwhile investment to prevent the spread of infections around the office, and save you money in staff sick pay.