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How recruiting an office cleaner could save you money

5th November 2017 Print

Have you ever wondered why all employees seem to call in sick at once? It could be down to the cleanliness of your office. Germs multiply at an outstanding rate in the workplace - 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.

Together with DCS Multiserve, we look at how recruiting an office cleaner could be one of the best investments that you make. In a recent report, it was revealed that sickness absences cost employers on average around £29 billion per annum. Here, we discuss the cost of sick days versus the cost of keeping your workplace clean and germ free. A clean office could save you money in sickness pay-outs.

The importance of office hygiene

Neglecting office cleanliness can have many negative effects - 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.

Regular cleaning of equipment is important – germs like those that lead to a cold can survive for up to 72 hours on equipment, meaning that you could contract the illness more than two days after somewhere has been contaminated. 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, an astonishing 32% of employees claimed that they did not wash their hands after using the bathroom. From those who did wash their hands, 30% admitted that they didn’t use soap. With 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.

Increasing rate of absences

The UK’s biggest annual survey of sickness absence rates and costs revealed that during 2014, sickness absence averaged at 2.7% of working time per annum – this equals 6.5 sick days per employee. The survey gathered data from over 670 organisations with just under two million employees collectively. In total, this cost employers an estimated £29 billion a year.  

It appears that this rate of high employee absences is set to continue in 2017. 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 massive 80% of infections are spread through contact with infected surfaces in workplace equipment. 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?

Recruiting a cleaner

There are simple solutions to improve office hygiene – you could undertake regular industrial cleaning, purchase hand sanitising wipes and gel, encourage regular desk and keyboard cleans and implement a no food at your desk policy. 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. 

There are many businesses and employers who currently pay for office cleaning and they generally spend 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. 

Annually, this can work out to be a reasonable investment. If you were to hire a cleaner for two hours, each working day, it would cost an estimated £130 per week to keep your office clean. 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.