The facts around office sickness and how to avoid it

Author: Matt Whatley   |   Date: 11th July 2019

Sickness at work can sometimes be like a game of tag - when one person comes in carrying germs others will quickly fall in their wake, it’s almost inevitable. But it doesn’t have to be, and there are many ways to improve wellness in your workplace and prevent people from falling ill or having to take time off.

In a report from the Office of National Statistics released earlier this year, it was revealed that in 2017, the top three reasons for working days lost due to sickness absence were musculoskeletal problems, mental health problems and minor illnesses. The last category is a fairly broad one but can encompass some common illnesses like flu or sickness bugs that are easily spreadable in the workplace. 

Lost days

The Health and Safety Executive reports annually on workplace absence, and the most recent figures suggest that there were 1.4 million workers suffering from work-related ill health (new or long-standing) in 2017/18. This resulted in 26.8 million working days lost, for 2017/18, and in the previous year, the annual costs of work-related injury and new cases of ill health (excluding long latency illness such as cancer) was a staggering £15 billion. 

The numbers are mind-boggling, but if you turn your attention back to your team you’ll see there are many ways to create an environment where your colleagues can prevent illness, or flag it early when it does happen. 

Top 3 reasons for sickness

So let’s take a look at those top three reasons for sickness:

  • Musculoskeletal problems – if you work in an office space, making sure everyone has had a Display Screen Equipment assessment will mean that people are at less risk of problems relating to posture or Repetitive Strain Injury. Encourage regular breaks to stretch and maintain good blood flow to the muscles. A tea round is always a great excuse for a quick walk! 
  • Mental health problems – it is estimated that one in four of us will suffer from a mental health problem in our lifetime, and you can help break the stigma by supporting your colleagues to speak up, seek help, or take time out when they really need to.
  • Minor illnesses – the tag line ‘coughs and sneezes spread diseases’ has been used for many years, and there’s a good reason why! Bacteria can spread quickly if someone has a cold or flu virus, so make sure you keep the antibacterial wipes handy and target the high traffic areas like desks spaces, phones, and kitchen areas. Encourage your staff to get the flu jab during winter, and when someone really is ill, don’t encourage them to soldier into work anyway, make sure they rest, get better and keep their germs to themselves! 

If you’re looking for an experienced company to help keep your workspace in top condition and keep those germs at bay, Moores Cleaning is always happy to help. Maintaining a clean and clutter-free work environment can help people stay well physically and mentally, so why not give us a call today and see how we can help you. 

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