Coughs and sneezes spread diseases. For decades this was the motto for the health service. Plastered across doctor waiting rooms since the second world war. Although this seems logical, the message may be in need of a revival.
According to a report by Simply Health it was revealed that “presenteeism” is at a record high and is affecting the countries working productivity.
Presenteeism is “the practice of being present at one’s place of work for more hours than is required, especially as a manifestation of insecurity about one’s job.” Essentially more staff now feel like they need to turn up to work whilst sick instead of taking time off recover.
The report showed that from 1021 employers who represent 4.6 million UK workers, found that 86 percent of companies said people were coming to work ill. This is up from 72 percent in 2016 and 26 percent in 2010.
When people come into work unwell their productivity and performance suffers. This means that they are not adding any value in their efforts to be present and run the risk of passing it to others.
Nottingham Business School found in 2017 the average British employee spent almost two weeks a year at work while ill. This was costing companies more than £4,000 a worker through lost productivity.
The risk of contamination to other employees can also be detrimental to a business’s success. Figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows that 137.3 million working days were lost due to sickness or injury in 2016. This is the equivalent of 4.3 days per worker. The disruption sickness can cause can cost a business through underperformance and other employees picking up extra workloads.
Apart from sending the sick home, there are ways to help stop the spread of illnesses in your office. Having a well maintained and functioning heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit can be the solution.
HVAC systems, if left un-serviced and unclean can collect and harbour organic contaminants like black mould as moisture builds up in the coil and ducts from the condensation that occurs as cold air passes through. When these microorganisms are airborne is can cause Legionnaires Disease. By having your HVAC system regularly serviced and changing the air filter monthly this can be prevented easily.
Air conditioners create the air environment to be cold and dry, as a result, the body’s natural response which are basic flu-like symptoms, such as a runny nose. By having an HVAC system installed with a humidifier, this will moisten the air and having the A/C turned down will prevent the office turning into a sniffling zone.
Irritating, itchy and watering eyes are often caused by allergies which becomes ever more present with the changing of the seasons, from winter to spring and summer. Holes in ductwork allow unfiltered air and residue to be sucked into your premises making these symptoms ever present. A yearly maintenance check-up is all it takes to prevent this from occurring.