The Value of Clean – The Value of Flu Prevention
Improve Your Bottom Line Where You Haven’t Looked Before
Many people consider the flu to be a minor illness but it is a serious infectious disease monitored year-round by the Centers for Disease Control. Even healthy people can be made very ill by the virus and it is estimated that between 2,000-8,000 Canadians die from influenza, or complications from influenza each year1.
The average flu last 1-2 weeks and affected adults can infect others between one day before, to 5-7 days after, symptoms appear. This results in a significant number of lost work days and effects the productivity and profitability of business. According to Statistics Canada, in 2011 Canadian workers took an average of 9.3 sick days costing their employers a total of $16.6 billion. The Canadian Healthcare Influenza Immunization Network estimates about 1.5 million workdays are lost in Canada annually because of the flu, resulting in healthcare costs and lost productivity equalling $1 billion2.
The challenge of staying healthy during flu season is made more difficult when sick co-workers are in the office. The flu can spread easily in the workplace because when somebody sneezes, coughs or talks they release tiny drops into the air that can contain viruses. Most experts believe these droplets are the main source of infection for the disease. These droplets then settle on everything within the immediate vicinity and are transported by ambient air flows, which spread the contamination throughout the entire office. There is estimated to be 20,000 germs/ sq. inch3 on regularly touched surfaces and once expelled the flu virus can survive up to 72 hours, depending on the type of surface. Alarmingly, a Staples survey found that only 57% of people washed their hands regularly at work4 which further increases cross-contamination and the spread of infectious diseases like the flu.
The government of Canada says cleaning and disinfecting surfaces regularly is one of the best ways to prevent getting the flu in the first place5. According to the ISSA (International Sanitary Supply Association), the governing body for cleaning and janitorial standards, daily cleaning reduces the probability of catching the flu by 80% (link to graphic).
So, if you want to stay ahead of the flu and prevent the lost productivity and revenue associated with the illness, a quality janitorial and cleaning program is a very cost-effective solution. It will create a real cost savings by reducing illness caused absenteeism and generate revenue through increased productivity.
To learn more about how cleanliness can improve your bottom line, come back next week for the seventh instalment in ‘The Value of Clean Series’, Surface Contamination.