Top 100 Tips for Business – #8 Hygiene14-05-2017
It might not seem like the most exciting aspect of planning for the business ‘big time’.
And the reality is that good hygiene often struggles to compete with other, seemingly bigger, priorities such as marketing, cashflow and HR.
Get it right and it could rocket-fuel your positive public profile. Getting it wrong, on the other hand, could have an equally negative effect on your future chances and your bottom line.
Bouts of bugs like norovirus or the all-too-common British colds and flu can wipe out 25 per cent of your workforce overnight, and have a catastrophic knock-on effect on your productivity.
One high-profile recent example of this was the temporary closure of London’s chain of Wahaca Mexican restaurants, co-owned by 2005 Masterchef winner Thomasina Miers. The source of the bug was investigated by Public Health England when 205 employees and 160 customers fell ill after interacting with their venues last winter.
More often than not, such issues arise through simple poor hand hygiene on the part of someone working for a supplier, or an employee.
However, the good news is that although such outbreaks can have a serious impact on your business, there are relatively simple and effective things organisations can do to minimise that risk.
Bacteria grow and spread at an alarming rate and it is very easy to transfer bugs like norovirus or common colds without hard and fast preventative measures in place. While they are more common in winter, they can arise at any time of the year and therefore it’s important to have a constant and consistent approach.
Six ways to prevent cold and sickness bugs grinding your business to a halt.
- Hand hygiene. Rule out the risk of cross-contamination by making sure you have industrial grade hand sanitisers at the entrances and exits to buildings and places where lots of people congregate
- Make sure you have professional quality antibacterial soap in all your washrooms
- Educate your employees and visitors to exercise good personal care and hand hygiene
- If, like many organisations, yours has a hot desking approach, make sure your teams know to clean down their work stations between shifts
- Make the regular sanitisation of all desks, with antibacterial sprays and wipes, an integral part of your cleaning regime
- Depending on which business sector you are involved in, wherever possible introduce and support a policy encouraging employees to stay away from work whilst they are considered to be infectious usually for at least 48 hours after a bad cold or flu viruses.
Within the food industry it is particularly important that managers must exclude staff with stomach upsets (diarrhoea or vomiting, etc) symptoms from working with or around open food, normally for 48 hours from when symptoms stop naturally.
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Both hygiene and health aspects are particularly important when working with vulnerable people such as the very young or elderly.
Could being clean save you cash?
Most of the businesses we deal with ‘do hygiene’ because they have to – viewing it as a bit of a drain on their profitability aspirations, thanks to increasingly demanding regulatory requirements.
However, you’d be amazed what a difference it can make to your business if you ‘think outside the box’ about your cleaning and adopt a more proactive stance. Not only can this save you heartache, it could also save you a significant amount of money – and even make you some!
Take a look at this:
10 ways to reduce your hygiene bill
Here are a few simple steps businesses can take to reduce cost. Most of the organisations we work with for the first time need at least a few of these:
- Have formal cleaning rotas. This, coupled with the right equipment and products, will reduce how long it takes your team to clean
- Review your cleaning routines. Challenge what they involve and who does it afresh and you’ll be amazed at the ideas this generates for cost saving and time efficiency
- The right tools for the job. The right cleaning tools and chemicals will help your teams clean more thoroughly, and faster
- Make it last. Installing equipment that ‘controls’ the release’ of all consumables, chemicals, soaps, hand towels and toilet rolls, will help avoid expensive waste
- Cheapest really isn’t best. Not when it comes to cleaning chemicals, anyway. You need industrial grade ones, not the supermarket’s best, so that you can use less with better germ killing performance
- Ditch ready-made cleaning solutions. Buy concentrates your teams can mix, train them to get the amounts right and pay a 30th of the ready-mixed price, while also helping the environment with less packaging
- Review the paper items you use. As well as ensuring appropriate usage through dispensing machines, choose the correct ply for your toilet rolls and paper towels, to strike the right balance between quality and value
- Buy in bulk. Don’t order in dribs and drabs if you can help it. Once you have a clear picture of your hygiene product usage, order as many things as you sensibly need at once, to benefit from greater buying power and ensure the best deal
- Plan ahead. Avoid last-minute orders wherever possible, as these will usually result in surcharges and additional postage costs
- Seek experienced advice. There’s really no substitute for it and whenever we carry out a hygiene audit for an organisation, we guarantee to save them time and money. We offer a free, no obligation initial assessment.
Not necessarily just a cost drain…
Good hygiene practices, just like ethical approaches and good financial management, are things modern consumers expect from the businesses they deal with these days. Which makes your business’s levels of cleanliness as vital as your marketing strategy.
The hygiene rating on your front door and how tidy and clean your loos and cleaning equipment (usually left on display) are can have a lasting impression on your visitors and customers – for good or bad. By contrast, being outstanding when it comes to your housekeeping can put you streets ahead of your competitors, as well as minimising lost productivity through employee absence, and complaints or fines for non-compliance, eradicating negative ‘trip advisor reviews’ for poor hygiene.
If any of the above has inspired you or rung alarm bells, you can contact Janette and team on (01482) 327580 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org to take advantage of their free, no obligation initial hygiene audit service.
Check out our James Legal – The Business 2017 campaign, for more useful insights from James Legal and our expert partners; access to free business masterclasses and the chance to win one of two prizes together worth more than £39,000.