As employee absenteeism reaches record highs nationwide, Kimberly Clark Professional South Africa has launched The Healthy Workplace Project – an innovative programme designed to show employers how taking a few simple steps can help reduce the risk of the spread of harmful germs from the office environment, cut absenteeism and raise both staff satisfaction and productivity levels.
Recent independent research conducted on absenteeism in South Africa has confirmed that it is costing the country’s economy as much as R19-billion-per-year, with the average company losing approximately 4,5% of its workforce to absenteeism on a daily basis; thereby, prompting an urgent need to tackle this problem with a sustainable and long-term solution.
Having achieved unprecedented success internationally through The Healthy Workplace Project, Kimberly Clark Professional South Africa end-user manager Nthato Malope is confident of obtaining similar success on a local level. “The financial impact of illness, both through absence and working while sick, adds up to serious losses for employers. The good news is that The Healthy Workplace Project can help employers review their current budget to make it work more effectively, and invest it on an effective programme that reduces the spread of germs, reduces the risk of absenteeism, and increases employee engagement,” he explains.
Real workplace health
Does everyday office equipment really harbour more germs than the average toilet seat?
Scientific evidence has proven this to be true. Using Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) – a measurement of a living cell’s source of energy, scientists are able measure the biological concentration of bacteria on any given surface. International research has revealed that the average desk has 400 times more germs than the average toilet seat.Research also shows that cold and flu viruses can exist on a surface for up to 48 hours.
To address these issues, the Kimberly Clark Professional The Healthy Workplace Project is being launched nationwide to educate and encourage employers to help their staff reduce the risk of cross contamination of germs in typical office hot spots such as desks, boardrooms, reception canteens and other high traffic areas, through a simple wash, wipe and sanitise protocol that enhances hand hygiene in the workplace. In order to enforce this simple protocol, the project comprises a simple three step process.
1. Workplace Site Assessment:
Businesses who sign up to The Healthy Workplace Project will be offered the opportunity to receive a comprehensive assessment of their whole working environment, from reception desks to individual workstations. Following this visit, Kimberly-Clark Professional will make tailored recommendations on where to place products such as hand sanitisers and desk wipes.
2. Installing Kleenex Branded Hygiene Products:
With advice and practical support, the Kimberly Clark Professional team will help customers to install the best possible hygiene systems around the workplace and, most importantly, inspire staff to use them regularly – steps that could help prevent the spread of germs that cause a range of illnesses.
3. An Interactive Communication Campaign:
In addition, companies who take advantage of the assessment will receive an engagement activation pack comprising posters, stickers and other internal communication material, all carrying information and messages about workplace hygiene. The materials in the pack have been carefully designed to attract the attention of employees, and persuade them to use the hygiene products made available by their employer, helping to achieve a long-term positive change in their behaviour.
Malope points out that the three step process is easy to implement, and is designed to create a more hygiene-conscious, motivated and engaged workforce. “Creating a healthier workplace does not stop at the restroom. As part of the programme, a wide range of hand sanitisers are placed in high-traffic areas of the workplace, where germs can easily be transmitted. In addition, disinfectant wipes are provided to ensure that the germs on keyboards, desks and other surfaces are effectively fired.”
Kimberly Clark will be implementing the Healthy Workplace Project at ABN Productions June 2012. This is a fantastic opportunity for ABN Productions to reinforce their position as an employer of choice and the importance of their employees’ well-being.