Staples offers products to help keep the workplace clean and healthy
FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 12, 2012--
Nearly 80 percent of office workers polled come to work even when they
know they are sick, according to the third annual Flu Season Survey from
Staples, an increase of 20 percent over last year. For those that stay
home, more than two-thirds return to work when they are still
contagious, putting coworkers’ health and business productivity at risk.
In a typical year, the flu virus is responsible for approximately 70
million missed workdays and an estimated $10 billion in lost office
productivity. Survey results also show that employees could do more to
keep the workplace healthy: half of office workers don’t clean their
workspaces regularly and are unaware of the dirtiest surfaces in the
Staples offers solutions to help maintain a healthy workplace by keeping
things clean – whether a home office, small-to-mid-sized business or
large enterprise. From simple items, such as hand sanitizer, to
large-scale industrial cleaning products and techniques, Staples has the
solutions to keep workers healthy and productive.
“At Staples, we know that companies are already doing more with fewer
resources, and flu season has the potential to impact productivity,”
said Lisa Hamblet, vice president for facility solutions at Staples
Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples. “Prevention is
key, and using the right supplies is critical. Products such as
hands-free soap, paper towel dispensers, disinfectants and sanitizers,
along with staff awareness, can help keep an office healthy.”
Survey data shows office workers continue to make avoidable mistakes
that fuel the spread of germs:
51 percent of employees only clean their desks once a week or less,
even though germs can live on surfaces for up to three days,
especially on the keyboard – typically one of the dirtiest personal
25 percent believe that door knobs/handles are the dirtiest places in
the office, while only 6 percent recognize that the break room sink is actually
the dirtiest, followed by the office microwave, which only 8 percent
65 percent feel the number of days necessary to be out of the office
with the flu is one to three days and often return to work contagious,
as the flu virus may be contagious for one day before symptoms develop
and up to five to seven days after becoming sick.
Survey findings also revealed that nearly half of workers cited their
concern about completing work as the reason they don’t stay home sick.
More than a quarter of respondents come to work to avoid using a sick
day, even though a majority of those surveyed indicated their average
productivity level while sick was only around 50 percent.
Facility Managers and Business Service Contractors First Line of
The task of maintaining a healthy work environment is increasingly
falling to facility managers (FMs) and building service contractors.
Staples separately surveyed this group to determine challenges faced
during flu season. The discrepancies between office workers and FMs
indicate confusion over who is responsible for cleaning when it comes to
flu prevention in the workplace.
Results revealed that almost 40 percent of FMs and their staff are not
responsible for cleaning occupants’ personal workspaces. More than half
of respondents answered they barely increase the time spent cleaning
(between 0 – 10 percent more of their time) during flu season.
According to FMs, some of the top challenges in keeping a building clean
and healthy are:
More employees working in the same or smaller space (53 percent).
Not enough staff to adequately clean (46 percent).
A decrease in budget for cleaning products (21 percent) with half of
respondents citing that they are unable to provide hand sanitizer and
40 percent unable to provide tissues for employees.
However, survey results revealed that nearly half of all respondents
believed they would need less than a 10 percent budget increase to
adequately address germ control in their buildings. Currently, more than
50 percent of FM’s aren’t ordering cleaning and disinfecting chemicals.
Staples recommends these easy steps to help maintain a healthier work
Offer/encourage a telecommuting program: Employers may want to
consider implementing a telecommuting program – or encourage use of an
existing program – as a way to help address employees coming into the
office when sick. Of those respondents whose company offers a
telecommuting option, nearly half take advantage of the option when sick
to avoid spreading germs in office.
Stock up: Nearly half of office workers surveyed request specific
items be provided by employers, such as sanitizing wipes, touch-free
restroom fixtures, waterless hand sanitizers and antibacterial soap in
restrooms and break rooms. Survey results show break rooms need special
attention, as most workers aren’t aware of the hidden germs lurking
Educate: The similarities between last year’s survey results and
this year’s indicate that office workers are still unsure how to best
fight the flu. Educate your staff about how often to clean their desks,
how long they should stay home when sick and crucial areas in the office
that need to be frequently disinfected, so your business can prevent the
spread of flu and other illnesses.
Helpful Resources for Businesses of all Sizes
offers products and tips to keep small businesses running smoothly.
Advantage Facility Solutions, offers product information, whitepapers,
case studies, videos, webinars
and other tools to help facility managers and building service
contractors fend off the damage of flu
About the Survey
Staples conducted an online survey of more than 150 office workers and
100 FMs at organizations of all sizes across the U.S. The survey,
conducted in September 2012, asked a series of questions about hygiene
in the workplace and flu knowledge.
Staples is the world’s largest office products company and second
largest internet retailer. The company provides products, services and
expertise in office supplies, copy & print, technology, facilities and
breakroom, and furniture. Staples invented the office superstore concept
in 1986 and now has annual sales of $25 billion, ranking second in the
world in eCommerce sales. With 88,000 associates worldwide, Staples
operates in 26 countries throughout North and South America, Europe,
Asia and Australia, making it easy for businesses of all sizes, and
consumers. The company is headquartered outside Boston. More information
about Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) is available at www.staples.com/media.
About Staples Advantage
Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, Inc.
(Nasdaq: SPLS), serves organizations of 20 or more employees up to the
Fortune 1000, including global businesses, local, state and federal
government, healthcare organizations and educational institutions. The
Staples Advantage one source solution includes comprehensive products
and services from office supplies, technology and printing to
promotional products, furniture and facility supplies. Dedicated to
providing organizations with greater cost savings and improved ordering
efficiencies, Staples Advantage provides a customized level of account
support and best-in-class customer service. More information is
available at www.staplesadvantage.com.
Source: Staples Advantage
Nina Akerley, 469-262-4685