Although it’s something that we don’t like to think about – the workplace is covered in germs. 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.
Hiring a cleaner is often not considered by many companies as they consider it to be a cost that they could do without. However, DCS Multiserve, specialists in industrial cleaning, tell us why a cleaner should be viewed as an investment due to the importance of cleanliness in the office. In a recent report, it was revealed that sickness absences cost employers on average around £29 billion per annum.
A breeding ground for germs
Germs are rife on equipment in the office, in fact, the average keyboard hosts around 16 million germs alone (approximately 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 lead to the common cold can live for up to 72 hours on unclean equipment. 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.
When surveyed, 32% of employees revealed that they didn’t wash their hands after using the bathroom and out of those that did, 30% admitted that they only used water. 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.
Sick days are expensive!
A research project was carried out in 2015 to investigate absences, it collected data from over 670 organisations with just under two million employees. It was revealed 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.
Predictions suggests that 2017 will follow a similar pattern too. 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.
A shocking 80% of illnesses spread through contact with dirty surfaces. 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 cost of being clean
Keeping the office clean and germ free doesn’t have to be expensive. There are reasonable actions that you can take to keep the office hygienic – hand sanitising wipes and gel, regular desk and keyboard cleans and implementing a no food at your desk rule 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.
The cost of the average cleaner is 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.
The annual costs of a cleaner, if you were to hire someone to come in for two hours each day, would be around £6,760. This is an estimated £130 per week and assuming that you require a cleaner for 50 weeks per year (2 weeks off to account for Christmas and office closures). This sounds like a worthwhile investment to prevent the spread of infections around the office and prevent absences.