The human brain has a macabre fascination with kidnappers. The ghoulish interest we've shown in people unexpectedly vanishing down the centuries hasn't depleted, as the internet's recent obsession with Ted Bundy shows. Why we're so intrigued by it is something numerous senior psychologists have extracted an entire career from, so it's undeniably significant. But there are much more subtle disappearances floating in unnoticed, and regularly.
70 million work days are missed in the UK every year due to common colds and related minor illnesses. That’s 304,000 full time staff off work every day, on average. Effectively, in an office of 100 staff, 1 of them is being employed 5 days a week to sit at home blowing their nose and giving their cat grumpy glances. They’re a victim of yet another silent but cold-blooded office abduction.
Now people have been getting coughs and colds for ever, and that isn’t going to change overnight. But we all know how the risk of catching them can be reduced, through preventing the spread of the germs that carry them. However, one of the negative side effects of the microfibre revolution is the decrease in use of biocidal cleaning chemicals. Microfibre cloths have such good physical cleaning capabilities that they provide a sufficient clean for most general-purpose cleaning – e.g. offices and desks – without any chemicals being used. For years this has been heralded as one of their biggest advantages, which helps with implementation of chemical-free cleaning for environmental reasons.
But microfibre isn’t antibacterial. So all the offices now being cleaned with gentle chemicals, or microfibre and water, have no biocidal products in use and bacteria are allowed to flourish. Desks are touched as much as door handles, phones, and other notable hotbeds of pathogens. If surfaces like that aren’t being cleaned with anti-bacterial chemicals regularly, they’ll be welcoming the germs with open arms, and with the rise of flexible working and hot-desking, spreading them evenly round the workforce has never been easier.
And it’s easy to forget that bactericidal cleaning doesn’t have to involve strong, harsh chemicals swathed with apocalyptic symbols of dead fish and trees. Simple but effective disinfectant cleaners like this virucidal hard surface cleaner are safe to add to any cleaner’s armoury. Those 70 million working days a year being missed, costing UK businesses in excess of £11 billion, are largely avoidable. People spend a massive part of their lives in the workplace, and it’s where a large proportion of minor illnesses are shared and picked up. Most of them are avoidable. That 1 employee in every 100 doesn’t need to be abducted.