A fact that may or may not come as a surprise to many is that the vast majority of workers admit to coming into the office sick--underscoring the requirement for high-performance cleaning and infection prevention practices to ensure the health and safety of the rest of the workforce.
Most Workers Admit to Coming Into the Office Sick
According to a recent study, nearly all workers surveyed reported going into the office knowingly sick and potentially contagious.
Alarmingly, nearly half of those surveyed stated they did so because they didn't want to use up their sick days.
Nine in 10 workers surveyed say they have come to work while displaying cold or flu symptoms, according to recent research from the global staffing firm Accountemps.
A third of those who say they have shown up to work while sick say they always go to work when they’re feeling under the weather.
40 percent of the respondents say they show up to work while sick because they don’t want to use up the sick time they are provided.
Additional reasons provided include:
- 54% felt they had too much work to do, while;
- 25% justified their actions because coworkers also come in sick.
- Only 34% reported coming into work because of pressure from their employer.
This behavior places an incredible burden on not only the business but the custodial staff and fellow employees.
What Happens When Workers Come to the Office Sick?
If the bulk of your workforce is coming into the office sick at any given point, the first thing that is going to happen is your business's overall productivity is going to tank.
The average employee misses four workdays per year due to illness, costing approximately $225 billion per year.
Workers who are present but not working up to capacity due to illness or other health factors cost US businesses billions of dollars more every year.
A survey Virgin Pulse Global Challenge, for instance, shows employees in their study averaged 4 sick days a year, but indicated that the time they lost while on the job (ie, being present by not working productively) added up to a staggering 57.5 days per year per employee.
The next thing that is going to happen is, half your office staff and customers are going to get sick.
Offices can become a significant source of bacteria if they are not cleaned regularly.
According to a 2014 study, a virus sample placed on a doorknob and tabletops in an office spread to 40-60 percent of workers and visitors within just 2-4 hours.
Now, while you may have some control over how your office staff responds to getting sick at work, customers are an altogether separate challenge.
A sick customer is an angry and likely former customer--one likely to turn to social media and Google to vent their frustrations.
Tips for a Healthier Office
The first step towards creating a healthier office environment is to cultivate a workplace wellness program that underscores the vital role staff play in the success of your organization.
- Sending workers home when they are sick.
- Encouraging workers to stay home when they are not feeling well or showing signs of contagious illness.
- Developing telecommute alternatives, where possible.
- Hiring temporary staff to offset the brief loss of a full-time employee and to ensure sick employees that their work will get done and not pile up, and;
- Discouraging managers from pressuring employees to come into the office when they know they are sick.
This is not a one-size-fits-all solution, so a catch-all plan must also be implemented--meaning a high-performance cleaning and infection control program, consisting of:
- Color-coded microfiber towels, brooms, and mop heads.
- A two-bucket cleaning system.
- Hospital-grade disinfectant wipes.
- Environmentally-preferable cleaning and disinfection products, and;
- Electrostatic disinfection.
Regular deep cleaning and daily disinfection, especially high-touch surfaces, will nullify the effects of the occasionally sick and present office worker.
The environmentally-preferable products will ensure your indoor air quality stays high and prevent occupant exposure to dangerously toxic chemicals.
Your staff will be more productive, and any short-term cost associated with a workplace wellness plan combined with a green, environmentally-friendly infection control program will be offset.
References & Resources
Workers coming into the office sick is far more costly than taking a few sick days.
The challenge requires a two-fold solution focused on fostering a healthy and hygienic workplace through wellness and environmentally-preferable infection control programs.
Keep in mind, it's not just your employees that are at risk, but your customers and any visitors, as well--individuals unlikely to respond favorably to your organization's absence of workplace health and safety policies.
If you would like further information regarding the benefits of an environmentally-friendly cleaning and disinfection program, or if you would like to schedule a free, no-obligation onsite assessment of your facilities infection prevention and control requirements, contact us today for a free quote!
In Bakersfield CA, call (661) 437-3253
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