Oct 18

6 Simple ways to reduce sickness rates

Simple ways to reduce sickness rates

Simple ways to reduce office illness

It’s that time of year again when we shut the windows, crank up the heating and provide the perfect breeding ground for germs.

The charity sector loses between 6 and 9.4 days per worker per year and when you add them up its clear that your organisation is going to be losing out both in terms of efficiency and efficacy.

While it’s simply not possible to eradicate all sick days, there is a lot we can do to try and minimize how comfortable germs feel hanging around your office, and decide to call it home.

  • Make the best use of the good weather. Even in the depths of a British winter, there are the odd mild, sunny days. Viruses are generally quite vulnerable to environmental conditions, many requiring humid and warm conditions to survive. Should the opportunity arise, get the windows (and doors, if possible) open and the blinds up. In an 8 hour working day, each person exhales about 1 small glass of water, and each person and machine in your office gives off heat, creating ideal germ survival conditions. Fresh, cooler air, and the UV from sunlight will help counter this.
  • Hand sanitizers. Keep a number of small bottles around the office, in key locations. Bathrooms, kitchens, by the water cooler (see below)and at reception.
  • Shared machines. Hotbeds for germs. Encourage employees to wipe them down with disinfectant wipes, especially any that are shared. This includes phones, keyboards, printers, copiers and fax machines.
  • Maintenance. If you have air conditioning units, this is the time of year to get them serviced. We often ignore AC units until they malfunction, but over the year all the air they pump through collects a fair amount of dust and detritus. This can build up in their filters, leading to lowered efficiency and more unpleasant germy-ness.
  • Water coolers/drinking fountains. Make sure people mop up spills and keep the machine clean. If a disease seems to be spreading, make sure people clean their hands and wipe down the machine before using.
  • Encourage home working. If people are ill, but not too ill to work, use these tools we mentioned earlier to keep the infected at home! The should still be as productive, but reduce the spread of illness.


Of course, you should never encourage employees to work when they are genuinely ill. It’s also important to keep a track of illness rates, as increases can mean higher level of stress, poor management, and low staff moral.

Anyway, some basic, free to low-cost tips to reduce sickness absence. Got any more to share?