Each April, World Health Day celebrates the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) and renews the call to action for governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to work together to raise public health standards around the world. It is also a chance to focus on and elevate the most pressing health issues facing global citizens, with the attention of global leaders driving this message. Within North America, preventing the spread of illnesses, such as influenza and the common cold, is a critical challenge every year. As people move about daily, especially in urban areas, germs transfer more easily, expanding their impact across communities. Although cold and flu season comes and goes each year, the spread of illness is preventable. There are important steps businesses can take to provide the resources and clean environments that help keep staff and customers healthy during the height of flu season and beyond.
No matter what your business provides—delicious food, a warm night’s stay, best-in-class business facilities—hygiene can affect your bottom line. For example, illnesses that spread around workplaces can cause employees to take sick days, which reduce productivity or, if they come in, create a less hygienic space for coworkers and other patrons. In fact, poor health costs the U.S. economy $576 billion a year, with 39 percent, or $227 billion from “lost productivity” from employee absenteeism due to illness or what researchers called “presenteeism,” when employees report to work but illness keeps them from performing at their best, according to The Integrated Benefits Institute1. With proper hygiene habits, however, these sicknesses can be contained. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that 20 percent of respiratory infections (e.g., the common cold) can be prevented through handwashing2. Precluding these everyday illnesses through handwashing can also have a much broader positive effect on overall wellbeing, as reducing infections helps avoid overuse of antibiotics, which is the leading cause of antibiotic resistance around the world. As health and wellbeing are intricately tied to personal hygiene, businesses should provide proactive solutions for an environment that is less conducive to germ spread.
Good hygiene is a joint effort that depends on businesses, colleagues and customers alike to get in the habit of effective handwashing. This effort begins with igniting conversations about the impact of hand hygiene and the key role it plays in keeping those around you healthy. At SCA, our expertise as the global hygiene leader uniquely equips us with the tools to lead this initiative. We’re known for our effective, sustainable and state-of-the-art innovative products that support and encourage hand hygiene compliance. Additionally, our resources can help businesses put together the best combination of products to make hand hygiene easier for everyone. Tork, an SCA brand, is dedicated to providing the hygiene products and solutions to help make good hand hygiene a priority for people around the world. Here are just a few ways we do this:
- Education – The Tork Healthy Hands website provides healthcare facilities with tools that remind workers, patients and visitors of the importance of hand hygiene. By prompting restroom visitors with the necessity of handwashing, we help spread the knowledge of healthy habits that impact wellbeing in hygiene-critical areas. Education is part of our larger Hygiene Matters initiative that aims to raise awareness of the undeniable link between hygiene and overall health and well-being around the world.
- Innovation – We consistently work to improve restroom experiences for your staff and guests. By leveraging technology trends such as the Internet of Things, innovations such as Tork Vision Cleaning3, which uses sensor-equipped dispensers to remotely track supply levels, ensure that your facilities are always capable of supporting good hygiene through providing soap and hand towels.
- Quality Products – Our expertise in hygiene, functional design and sustainability results in a line of products that maximize restroom health and maintenance efficiency.
As organizations discuss and tackle the broader global health issues this World Health Day, let’s also focus on the everyday habits that improve the foundation of wellbeing. Businesses everywhere can implement the products and technology to facilitate proper hygiene habits, which can in turn help limit the spread of disease, reduce costs and keep everyone healthy. To learn more about how you and your business can make strides for better hygiene, visit TorkUSA.com.