It is probably safe to say that there is very little the average employer hates more than sick leave. It really isn’t as if people are in the habit of getting sick on purpose and most absolutely despise the prospect of missing work due to illness. Nevertheless, research has shown that absence due to sickness is costly on a quite spectacular level.
Research carried out recently in the United States found that at any one time, no less than 22 million members of the workforce are absent. This in turn results in annual losses totalling no less than $350 billion each and every year. And while there are a great many reasons why any given individual may be absent at any one time, the number one cause of employee absence is sickness.
Now, in a great many instances there really is nothing the business in question can do to avoid such absences. But at the same time, it is important to remember that the cleanliness and hygiene standards of the workplace itself can play an enormous role in contributing to employee health and safety in general. Whichever way you look at it,really does have an impact on the physical and psychological well-being of every single member of the workforce, without exception.
Let’s put it this way – you might not be aware of it, but studies have shown that there are often 400 times more bacteria on the average office desk than there are on the average bathroom toilet. It’s a pretty unpleasant statistic to say the least, but one that nonetheless illustrates the enormous importance of being proactive when it comes to office cleanliness and hygiene. It’s no secret that bugs and viruses have the potential to spread around the workplace like wildfire, but at the same time there are so many employers who really do very little to quell the contagion.
But it’s not only about working to prevent members of the workforce becoming physically ill due to poor workplace hygiene standards. When the working environment is being kept in a condition that is anything but ideal, it tends to have a quite detrimental impact on motivation and morale. It is unrealistic to expect employees at all levels to work as hard as possible at all times if they are under the impression that those in charge of the business cannot be bothered to keep the place in an adequately clean and sanitary condition. And not only do motivation and morale impact performance and output – they also have an effect on absence rates.
Once employees are suffering an extreme bout of low motivation, they are inherently more likely to find any excuse in the world not to go into the office. Which in turn means that they are likely to call in sick at the proverbial drop of a hat, when realistically they could quite easily do their job as required.
On the whole, a clear illustration of the fact that workplace cleanliness can and will have a significant impact on absenteeism, one way or the other.