The true cost of poor hygiene in the workplace

by FM Media
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The Initial Hygiene Great Australian Washroom Study has exposed the true cost of poor hygiene in the workplace.

According to the Initial Hygiene Great Australian Washroom Study:

  • Aussie employees spend 37.6 hours a year in the washroom – a little over one working week
  • 1 in 3 employees admit they don’t wash their hands every time they visit the washroom
  • 76 percent of people worry about other people not washing their hands
  • 53 percent of respondents believe it is not their responsibility to maintain office hygiene
  • More than one third of employees believe their job satisfaction would be improved with better office hygiene

Initial Hygiene also discovered that one in six office workers have fallen ill from poor office hygiene, taking an average of 4.8 sick days each year. This costs businesses up to $800 million in lost wages each year, according to the company.
“50 percent of office workers admitted office hygiene concerns affected their productivity and 40 percent are concerned they might fall sick due to poor office hygiene. As a result, the lack of satisfactory hygiene practices is costing businesses $800 million dollars in absenteeism,” Natalie Howard, marketing manager for Initial Hygiene, states.
Employees said their productivity was affected for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Spending time attending to their personal hygiene and personal space (67 percent)
  • Spending time talking with other people in the office about hygiene theirs/others standards (57 percent)
  • Being distracted from work thinking about hygiene and the behaviours of others (56 percent)
  • Spending time attending to the hygiene of communal office spaces (54 percent)

Poor office hygiene also affects employee retention and recruitment. 72 percent of office workers declared their hesitation in recommending an employer with substandard hygiene. For 7 out of 10 office workers, poor office hygiene genuinely affected the overall job satisfaction.
“Three out of four office workers believe poor office hygiene indicates their employer doesn’t care about them. Over half (55 percent) of Aussie office workers are not happy with their office washroom and criticised their employer for ‘washing their hands’ of office hygiene. This is a damning statistic, and shows Australian businesses are not making it the priority it needs to be,” Howard continues.
“Substandard office hygiene reflects poorly on a business, increasing absenteeism and lowering productivity however, there are lots of things employers can do to improve office hygiene like installing hand soaps and sanitisers, toilet seat cleaners and paper towel dispensers to help reduce the cross contamination within the office,” Howard concludes.

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