Are Unhygenic Workplaces Causing Employee Sickness?

UK employees are getting ill due to their workplaces being dirty, according to new research. The survey of 1,012 UK workers conducted by household appliances e-tailler,, found that almost half (46%) believe that an unhygienic working environment has contributed to making them sick.

When quizzed on the reasons they felt their workplace has made them sick in the past, the majority said that they believed this was due to lack of general hygiene in their workplace (68%), while 62% said it was due to colleagues bringing sickness into the office.

With 46% of respondents claiming that they’ve had at least one day sick in the past year due to their unhygienic workplace, this would come at a cost of £1.56 billion to UK employers.

When quizzed on the least hygienic parts of their working environment, a further 48% said it was due to their unhygienic desk phone, while a shocking 45% cited their dirty office kitchen as being the reason for them getting sick.

34% of workers said this was due to badly washed plates and mugs in the office kitchen and 28% said it was due to unsanitary bathrooms. A quarter (24%) of those surveyed said they feel that their dirty desk was the least hygienic part of their workplace, whilst for 18%, it was their keyboard.

A further 14% felt that colleagues leaving out of date food in a communal fridge has contributed to making them sick, and 11% of those surveyed felt it was because of pets in the office.

Mark Kelly, marketing manager at, comments: “I was surprised from our findings just how much office sickness is costing UK businesses annually, with almost half of British workers blaming their workplace for at least one sick day in the past year.

“We carried out some research recently which found that the kitchen was the hub of the office, with 72% of UK workers saying this is the most used social space in the office, so it’s concerning to see that almost half of workers believe thatthis is a space that has made them ill in the past year due to lack of hygiene.

“It’s clear that it’s not just employers who need to keep communal spaces clean, but also that employees need to keep their personal workspaces hygienic to avoid illness from things like keyboards and desk phones.”

The top 10 reasons Britsh adults say their workplace has made them sick:

  1. Lack of general hygiene – 68%
  2. Colleagues bringing in sickness – 62%
  3. Unhygienic desk phone – 48%
  4. Dirty office kitchen – 45%
  5. Badly washed plates and mugs in the office kitchen – 34%
  6. Unsanitary bathrooms – 28%
  7. Dirty desk – 24%
  8. Unhygienic keyboard – 18%
  9. Colleagues leaving out of date food in a communal fridge – 14%
  10. Office pets – 11%

Insurance Edge Comment:

Nobody has mentioned the air-con units. These are rarely cleaned properly in many workplaces and must surely send all kinds of bacteria flying around the air, especially in the summer months when the units are under the greatest load. Think we’ve just solved the cause of the summer cold n flu epidemic right there…


About alastair walker 6524 Articles
20 years experience as a journalist and magazine editor. I'm your contact for press releases, events, news and commercial opportunities at Insurance-Edge.Net

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