While workplace contamination can lead to health problems, this risk is only the tip of the iceberg. In fact, there are several indirect costs associated with poor workplace conditions—from lost employee time to lost revenue; workplace contamination can take a major toll on a business. The effects of contaminants can be wide-reaching and have a lasting impact on the productivity of employees, not to mention the health of customers. And that's only the beginning.
Without preventative safety measures in place for combating the spread of contaminants, businesses might wind up paying more costs in the long run. The following are five hidden costs of workplace contamination, with consequences that impact various parties, from property managers to customers.
1. Loss of revenue for Landlords
As a result of COVID, the state of the commercial real estate market is looking bleak: vacancies in downtown Toronto are predicted to rise to 12.4% this year from 7.2% in 2020. However, many predict that this downward trend is only temporary and that the market will bounce back. According to PwC, 78% of employers plan on returning to the office this year, as many believe that remote work is unsustainable, particularly due to the lack of face-to-face interaction.
That being said, for landlords to become a linchpin in this real estate revival, they must implement industry-leading standards for safer environments—or else they risk being left out by businesses that will not even consider their office space as a viable option for hosting their employees. This will inevitably result in a loss of potential revenue for those buildings, and if landlords are late in implementing safety measures, they also risk losing tenants.
2. Loss of Business Income
A business's level of cleanliness is more important than ever. Following the pandemic, many people will continue to have significant concerns about entering public spaces, potentially meaning less foot traffic for businesses. For example, in retail, foot traffic accounted for over 80% of all sales pre-COVID. While foot traffic will see an increase as businesses begin to reopen, customers might be more apprehensive about entering a business that does not follow proper health guidelines for workplaces.
As a result, customers may avoid visiting these public spaces, where reducing the spread of workplace contamination is not being addressed. If customers perceive a business as lacking sanitary standards, this could mean less generated revenue for businesses as these customers will choose to go somewhere else.
3. Higher Recruiting Costs For Businesses
Employers risk losing employees if they do not take steps towards creating a safer working environment for their employees. Many employees are concerned about returning to the office if they deem their working environment as higher-risk. This can mean that their employer and building manager are not taking extra safety precautions, such as limiting the number of people in an elevator.
As a consequence, inadequate safety measures could result in higher recruiting costs, as it might become more challenging to recruit employees who value safer working environments. Given the current circumstances with COVID, employees don't want to work for employers who aren't going above and beyond to create a safer environment.
4. Reduced Employee Productivity
As most businesses know, the workplace can be a breeding ground for germs. Those germs, when left unchecked, can lead to severe health issues for employees, including frequent sickness. All it takes is a single surface to be compromised to infect the majority of a workplace in a matter of hours.
If a company's workers are sick, they're less productive at work, which means the company loses money. The higher the rate of illness, the bigger the loss. A business loses time and productivity when its workforce is sickened from workplace contamination, resulting in increased absenteeism, lower morale, and more overtime required to get the job done.
5. Costs of Restoring Company Reputation
In today's economy, 70% to 80% of market value comes from intangible assets, such as goodwill, that are especially vulnerable to reputational damage. The costs associated with restoring damaged reputations in the wake of a crisis can be astronomical.
If there happens to be an outbreak, the PR costs will be astronomical for getting back on track and restoring the company's reputation. In addition to PR costs, the company will have to go above and beyond to demonstrate that they are finally implementing adequate safety measures, such as extra cleaning, barriers, and filtration systems.
The fact is that many workplace surfaces harbor pathogens that can be detrimental, extending beyond impacts on the health of employees. The leading causes of workplace contamination can be attributed to a number of factors. This can include insufficient cleaning and disinfecting of hard surfaces and the fact that the average desk or counter is a breeding ground for harmful microbes, due to the convenient proximity of food and liquids.
In order to combat these risks, building owners need to invest in a system that effectively removes harmful substances from surfaces. Moving forward, it is important that managers and business owners do everything in their power to ensure that employees are not exposed to contaminants while on the job. This includes making sure the office is installed with self-cleaning solutions in addition to being regularly disinfected.
Coptek Copper Covers are a simple, inexpensive, and proven solution for minimizing bacteria-spread.