According to the 2015 Absence Management and Wellbeing Survey conducted by Direct Health Solutions, absenteeism costs the Australian economy a staggering $32.5 billion per annum through loss of productivity and additional payroll costs. With the same survey placing the average cost of a single workday absence at $347, it is imperative that small and big businesses alike aim to reduce the level of absenteeism in the office.
As there is no single cause of workplace absence, there is also no "one size fits all" approach to enable an office to reduce the number of its employees taking sick days. However, although businesses have little control over external reasons for absenteeism, there are factors within the office environment that, when addressed, can help to reduce absence in the office. One of the primary ways to reduce the spread of an illness throughout an office is by undertaking office cleaning.
Any illness can be quickly spread through people in an enclosed environment, and this is most definitely the case within an office that is not subject to regular, thorough, office cleaning. With many people working in a single area, sickness can run rampant and have a substantial negative impact on the productivity of the business; this not only through people calling in absent from work when they are too ill to make it into the office but also due to the reduction in productivity and efficiency in workers who may have made it in to work but are feeling under the weather.
With everything from the common cold to norovirus prone to spreading rapidly through groups of people working in close proximity to each other, it is essential that, where possible, a business take steps to reduce the spread of illness among its employees. This may initially sound like an arduous, if not impossible, task; however, a study conducted by The Healthy Workplace Project found that simply implementing an office cleaning protocol, alongside a "wash, wipe, sanitise" ethos within the workplace, could reduce the probability of catching the flu or common cold within the office by as much as 80 percent.
When embarking on regular office cleaning as a means to reduce workplace absenteeism and increase employees' productivity, you should know there are some surfaces within the office that warrant extra attention. Items such as telephone receivers, keyboards, light switches, and door handles all harbour germs that can spread around the office with the potential to spread illness between a substantial number of employees.
The issues surrounding workplace absenteeism are complex; however, regular office cleaning can give a workforce the best possible chance to stay healthy and productive.