An Employer’s Secret Weapon in the War on Winter Sick Leave

We are all too aware of the challenges faced by businesses when staff sickness strikes en masse, particularly during the colder weather. An outbreak of flu, sickness bug or even a stinking cold can make a serious dent in productivity.

The Labour Force Survey1, carried out annually by the UK Office for National Statistics, found that more than 137 million work days were lost to sickness each year in the UK. An incredible 33% of those days were attributed to ‘minor illnesses’, including coughs, colds and sore throats – exactly the kinds of ailments which spread quickly in a busy workplace environment.

It’s a problem all managers can relate to, but what can be done about it? We can’t change the fact that many workplaces have limited space: we share facilities with our colleagues and this can’t be avoided. But there are simple and relatively inexpensive steps that we can take to reduce the spread of harmful germs.

One of the more innovative solutions that we’ve deployed at a number of facilities we manage is antibacterial door handles and push plates. This sort of preventative measure is usually only associated with high-risk environments, like healthcare facilities. But why is this the case? Obviously, medical facilities need to focus closely on hygiene and limiting the spread of bacteria, but if we want to keep staff sickness to a minimum, shouldn’t we all be adopting this approach?

MAR Services is one of the first Facilities Management companies to promote the installation of the Purehold antibacterial push plates and door handle covers, both of which feature a special anti-bacterial coating designed to combat any pathogens deposited onto the surface by users. This coating works continuously: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can easily be fitted to both sides of toilet and office doors in order to reduce the risk of cross-contamination between staff members. In other words, they stop the spread of germs, fast.

A recent study of the effectiveness of Purehold push plates and pull handles, carried out at George Eliot hospital NHS Trust2 found them to be 97.79% cleaner than standard stainless steel door furniture. This supports extensive lab testing3, which found a 99% reduction in levels of bacteria with Purehold Antibacterial surfaces in use, and independent field trials4 which detected a 96.4% reduction in bacteria.

Put simply, with Purehold Antibacterial door plates and handles fitted, premises face a MUCH lower risk of cross-contamination between users than when using standard stainless steel equivalents. And with most businesses facing the real challenges presented by the spread of staff sickness, the question is: can you afford NOT to install them?

Contact MAR Services today on for more information on how we can help you maintain a happy, healthy and productive workforce all year round.

1 Source: Sickness Absence in the Labour Market, Office for National Statistics, 2017

2 Source: Report by Wickham Laboratories Limited, December 2017

3 Source: Independent Lab test carried out by Purehold (ISO 22196:2011)

4 Source: ECO Handle Testing – ‘Dynamics of Contamination’

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