The Changing Workplace

Cough and Cold Season – What CRES Can Do

Preceding other common holiday hallmarks – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Christmas – cough and cold season has arrived, heralding a change of season!

I know this because I am currently suffering.

And, it’s got me thinking about the problem: how many people are affected across the cough and cold season? How much does cough and cold season cost business? Finally, what can CRES do to prevent or minimize the impact these common, highly contagious viruses have on operations?

How Many Employees Are Affected by Coughs and Colds?

70% of employees will be afflicted by coughs and colds every year. Cough and cold season generally starts in late-August ending early-April. Not surprisingly, there is a dramatic spike in absenteeism rates for both full-time and part-time employees across this time.

What Is the Financial Impact to Business from Cough and Cold Season?

The simple truth is, sick employees cost employers money:

  1. By staying home
  2. By coming to work

The fact is, illness is just expensive.

Employees who are considerate and sensible, take the time away from work allowing themselves to recover.

The rest, who still come to the workplace, are less productive and propagate their virus through the office.

Employees feel guilty for taking time away or feel pressured to work through a cough or cold. Recent surveys have found that the perceived pressures of keeping up with workloads isn’t allowing people to take time away from work. As a result, the number of people going to work under the weather has been increasing.

Sickness costs UK business £4.2bn annually.

What CRES Can Do to Fight Spreading Viruses

CRES doesn’t need to be fatalistic, meekly accepting that coughs and colds are going to march in and decimate productivity.

We know when colds and coughs start ramping up their campaign – the end of August through to April. Anticipating its arrival and knowing what to look for – CRES can look at strategies curbing viral reach.

Coughs and colds are spread through contact – living in the air and on surfaces remaining infectious for 24 hours.

Therefore, cleanliness is vital to preventing spreading illness. And there are two ways CRES can promote cleanliness – providing sanitizers, tissues and wipes for employees to use. The second method, is to monitor occupancy through common spaces (lobbies, corridors, agile work zones, toilets) and align cleaning strategies accordingly.

There are high volume areas through buildings. Particularly where flexible workstations are available, a person with a cough or cold can use a workstation, get up and leave bacteria on the workstation surfaces or equipment. Considering that phone receivers alone have been shown to provide refuge for more than 25,000 germs per square inch, wipes and hand sanitizer can go a long way to keeping spaces less germy.

If tracking building, floor or zone occupancy CRES Teams can align how often cleaning teams attend spaces, ensuring spaces are clean and killing bacteria. This may require a team to flex, taking on new personnel across this time frame, but again illness is costly and the gains must be weighed up against lost productivity.

CRES has the knowledge and tools to provide a comfortable environment for users reducing coughs and colds.