The workplace is an ideal place for germs to multiply. Did you know that the average work desk can be up to 100 times less hygienic than your kitchen table, and 400 times dirtier than the average toilet seat? Probably not. 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.

A recent report revealed that absences from sickness cost employers on average around £29 billion per annum. Could a clean office save you money in sickness pay-outs? Together with DCS Multiserve, experts in industrial cleaning, we investigate why hiring an office cleaner can be viewed as more of an investment than a cost.

Microbes in the workplace

Office equipment that is used by employees becomes a breeding ground for germs. 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.

One example of an illness that can be spread through the office is the common cold. Germs that cause this illness can survive up to 72 hours on equipment, meaning you could pick up the illness more than two days after somewhere 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.

An outstanding 32% of employees confessed to not washing their hands after using the bathroom, and a further 30% admitted they only used water when ‘cleaning’ their hand. From these results, it comes as little surprise that 24% of us have faecal bacteria on our hands – this then transfers onto surfaces that 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.

How are sick days costing you?

During 2014, in a study which gathered data from just under two million employees, it was revealed that sickness absence averaged at 2.8% of working time per annum. This equates to 6.5 days of sickness per employee each year. When this is translated to cost, it comes to an estimated £29 billion a year.

It does not appear that 2017 is any better either. 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 contact with contaminated surfaces – meaning that it could be the cleanliness of your workplace which is causing your staff to be sick. 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?

The price of cleanliness

Keeping the workplace clean and hygienic does not have to be expensive – hand-sanitising wipes and gel, regular desk and keyboard cleans and implementing a no food at your desk rule are cheap ways which should help. 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.

Office cleaning is usually priced at 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 decide to hire a cleaner for two hours, each working day, it would cost you around £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.

Sources

https://www.bhf.org.uk/-/media/files/health-at-work/health_at_work_economic_evidence_report_2016.pdf

http://www.1stcompucare.co.uk/facts/

http://www.personneltoday.com/hr/sickness-absence-rates-and-costs-revealed-in-uks-largest-survey/

https://www.cleaningservicesgroup.co.uk/5/about-us/5/news/452/how-clean-is-your-office/

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