What has good hygiene got to do with good business? 

Simple steps such as equipping bathrooms with suitable hand washing facilities can help cut absenteeism rates.

Simple steps such as equipping bathrooms with suitable hand washing facilities can help cut absenteeism rates.

Chances are there’s a hygiene-dodger in your workplace. You know the type of person, we’ll call him Phil, who has the same attitude towards cleanliness that Creationists have towards evolutionary science. 

Phil arrives at work ten minutes late every morning with sweat visible on his shirt, a face full of grease and fingernails crowded with dirt. His odour radiates from him. 

As he sits down, he coughs without covering his mouth, before pulling out a bacon sandwich and engulfing it above his keyboard. Your co-workers treat him like a leper among healthy men, and rightly so – Phil could be costing your entire company cash. 

Thanks to soap-escapers like Phil, thousands of bacteria are spreading like breadcrumbs in a Grimm fairy tale. And these bacteria can lead to illness which, in turn, has contributed to the 27 million working days lost in the UK in 2012. 

But you can’t let Phil bring your business to its knees. To save lost working days and your bank balance, it’s time to optimise your office hygiene plan. Here a few ways to do just that.

Make your washroom count

The primary defence against bad hygiene is your washroom – after all, who’s going to want to wash up in a place that seems like it contains more germs than toilet paper? 

Load that washroom up with as much antibacterial soap, hi-tech hand dryers and cleaning products as it can hold (much of which will be available from a quality washroom cleaning company). More than this, design the place to give it a welcoming ambience. The more relaxed an employee feels, the higher the likelihood of them using the facilities you’ve provided. 

Create a culture

A number of somewhat nauseating business executives will insist on referring to their workplace as having an ‘office culture‘. It’s a term that’s essentially a byword for conformism, crowbarring employees into a certain mould as envisaged by some boss or overzealous middle manager – but it can be used for positive ends. 

By initiating a culture of hygiene, through strategically placed posters and a few company emails, more employees will be reminded to perform basic tasks like wash their hands, leave the staff room hygienic and clear their desks regularly. 

Your electrics are infectious

While your cleaner might scrub your washroom, staff room and desks from top to bottom, they’re probably more reticent to approach your computers and monitors with the same rigour. 

The fear of your electrics going kaput can make it difficult to clean them, but with the average keyboard containing more germs than a toilet seat, cleaning them is a must. 

For a keyboard, simply remove the keys and boil them in hot soapy water (just remember to make sure the order they have to be put back in). As for your base unit, a regular dusting should do the trick. 

Manage these simple tips and you’ll see your absenteeism rates fall dramatically. As for Phil – just tell the smelly blighter to have a wash. 

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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