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Proper Copper a Productivity Pusher?

07 July 2017 | Updated 01 January 1970

Productivity in the workplace is influenced by a vast amount of factors, writes Franz Lorenschitz. Ranging from the provision of breakfast, to the temperature of the room and how comfortable the office chairs are, positively influencing productivity can be a challenging task for facilities managers.

One of the most influential factors in determining productivity is the general health and wellbeing of employees. Becoming an area of focus over recent years, improving the health and wellness of employees has resulted in various initiatives and technological additions such as cycle to work schemes and smart climate control systems.

The health of an employee can have a dramatic impact upon their work performance if they are not feeling 100 per cent.


Absenteeism crisis

Research by Catapult found that UK businesses lose 6.9 days a year per employee due to absenteeism. ‘Plaguing’ productivity in the workplace and costing the British economy £100bn a year, the firm proclaimed the issue to be an absenteeism crisis.

Additionally, those who attend work whilst feeling unwell heighten the risk of spreading illness throughout their work building, further compounding absenteeism.

Known as presenteeism, employees attending work when unwell is estimated by the CIPD to cost twice the amount of absenteeism. Discussing the report, Professor Sir Cary Cooper said, “Workers coming in and doing nothing is more dangerous for the UK economy than absenteeism.”


Consequently, any measures that facilities managers can take to positively impact on health, wellbeing, illness and thus absenteeism, presenteeism and productivity should be considered.

One such consideration is the installation of ‘high-touch’ antimicrobial copper ironmongery. Specifying antimicrobial copper ironmongery products such as door levers, push plates, cabinet and pull handles, WC turns, indicators and releases can mitigate the risk of the spread of sickness and infection amongst staff.



The inherent protection that these copper products provide is derived from their elemental make-up. A powerful antimicrobial, copper provides a rapid, broad spectrum efficacy against bacteria and viruses and has been shown to kill pathogens that cause MRSA, Influenza A and norovirus. It shares this benefit with a range of copper alloys collectively called ‘antimicrobial copper’.

Laboratory research on the efficacy of antimicrobial copper has been carried out and verified at institutions around the world, including the UK. Testing has been conducted under typical indoor conditions, with results peer-reviewed and published.  These results show that microbial contamination is consistently reduced by more than 80% on copper compared to standard surfaces. Furthermore, an associated 58% reduction in infections has been reported in workplace trials in the US where copper touch surfaces have been used.


A healthy colour

Despite the obvious health and productivity benefits of installing copper ironmongery, some facilities managers may have been perturbed by pure copper’s reddish-orange appearance, which doesn’t always align with the aesthetics of modern offices and workplaces.

To overcome this dilemma, manufacturers and suppliers are now offering copper alloy products that have an appearance almost identical to stainless steel while also retaining the antimicrobial qualities of copper.

By Franz Lorenschitz of Allgood

Article written by Franz Lorenschitz | Published 07 July 2017


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