A recent study carried out by Kimberley-Clark Professional in the US has revealed that office kitchens and break rooms harbour considerably larger amounts of germs than restrooms, prompting the company to highlight the important benefits of its recently launched Healthy Workplace Project, which is designed to reduce the risk of cross contamination of germs in offices and help employers to create a healthier more productive space for their employees.
The findings, which were officially released in May 2012, revealed that the place where employees eat and prepare their lunch topped the list of office germ hot-spots, with microwave door handles found to be the dirtiest surfaces touched by office workers on a daily basis.
Where germs thrive
Kimberley Clark Professional South Africa end-user manager Nthato Malope notes that the study is one of the most comprehensive ever conducted on identifying workplace hotspots where germs thrive.
“Hygienists from Kimberly Clark Professional’s Healthy Workplace Project collected approximately 5 000 individual swabs from office buildings housing more than 3 000 employees. The participating office buildings represented a broad cross-section of office types, including manufacturing facilities, law firms, insurance companies, healthcare companies and call centres.”
Using Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) – a measurement of a living cell’s source of energy, scientists measured the biological concentration of bacteria on a number of surfaces. The study revealed that the percentage of the office surfaces tested and found to have high levels of contamination with an ATP count of 300 or higher, included: Taps: 75%, microwave door handles: 48%, keyboards: 27%, fridge door handles: 26%, water fountain buttons: 23%, vending machine buttons: 21%.
In addition, half of all computer mice and desk phones were found to have ATP levels above 100, suggesting that while people appear to be taking more responsibility for the cleanliness of their personal spaces, there is still a need for increased awareness of the importance of hand and surface hygiene in the office.
Exposure to illness-causing germs
Malope stresses the fact that local office environments are similar to that of the US, and that through tests that Kimberly Clark Professional have conducted at a number of companies locally, it has become clear that South African office workers are regularly being exposed to illness-causing bacteria in their own workspaces.
“People are aware of the risk of germs in the restroom, but areas like break rooms have not received the same degree of attention. This study demonstrates that contamination can be spread throughout the workplace when office workers heat up lunch, make coffee or simply type on their keyboards,” he continues.
In order to address these health risks, the Kimberly Clark Professional Healthy Workplace Project has been launched nationwide to educate and encourage employers to help their staff reduce the risk of cross contamination of germs in typical office hot spots through a simple wash, wipe and sanitise protocol that enhances hand hygiene in the workplace.
The Healthy Workplace Project comprises a simple three step process, namely:
Workplace site assessment: Businesses who are interested in the Healthy Workplace Project will be offered the opportunity to receive a comprehensive assessment of their entire working environment, from reception desks to individual workstations. Following this visit and in consultation with their customer, Kimberly Clark Professional will make tailored recommendations on where to place products such as hand sanitisers and desk wipes.
Installing Kleenex branded hygiene products: With advice and practical support, the Kimberly Clark Professional team will help customers to install the best possible hygiene systems around the workplace and, most importantly, inspire staff to use them regularly – which could help prevent the spread of germs that cause a range of illnesses.
An interactive communication campaign: In addition, companies who take advantage of the assessment will receive an engagement activation pack comprising posters, stickers and other internal communication material, all carrying information and messages about workplace hygiene. The materials in the pack have been carefully designed to attract the attention of employees, and persuade them to use the hygiene products made available by their employer, helping to achieve a long-term positive change in their behaviour.
“Simple solutions such as placing sanitising wipes in kitchens and providing employees with easy access to hand sanitizers, underscored by education in hand and surface hygiene, can serve as the impetus to actively engage employees in maintaining a healthy office environment. This study demonstrates that contamination is across the workplace, and has the potential to reach people where they eat and prepare food. Nobody can avoid it entirely, but by washing, wiping and sanitising, employees can reduce their rates of cold, flu and stomach illness by up to 80%,” Malope concludes.
For more information on Kimberly-Clark Professional and The Healthy Workplace Project visit www.healthyworkplaceproject.com
Bonang Matheba Announced As 2018 AWIEF Awards MC
AWIEF has announced multi –award winning radio host, TV presenter and style icon, Bonang Matheba as the 2018 AWIEF Awards MC and host.
Bonang Matheba, affectionately referred to by fans as Queen B, has firmly positioned herself as Africa’s most sought after entertainment personality and SA’s number one social media darling.
With just three weeks from recognising, honouring and celebrating women entrepreneurs and business-owners in Africa for their innovation, excellence and contribution towards economic growth and social development, AWIEF has also announced songstress, BUCIE as the music entertainer for the night.
40 Finalists out of more than 1350 nominations were revealed for the AWIEF Awards last month. Winners will be announced at The Westin Hotel in a five-star gala dinner on 9th November 2018.
Tickets to the awards evening are selling fast. To secure your seat, please click here.
Things Schools Need To Stop Doing To Grow Entrepreneurs
Here are 8 things that would make a significant impact on generating enterprising behaviour.
It is no secret that the current structure of the education system was designed in an entirely different age to achieve economic outcomes that are no longer viable due, in large, to the rapid innovation and adoption of technology.
But if we are to hope to help President Ramaphosa implement his vision for entrepreneurship as stated in the SONA 2018 address as, “The establishment through the CEOs Initiative of a small business fund – which currently stands at R1.5-billion – is an outstanding example of the role that the private sector can play. Government is finalising a small business and innovation fund targeted at start-ups,” we need to change how and what schools are teaching for this to be realised on a large scale.
Here are 8 things that would make a significant impact on generating enterprising behaviour:
1. Stop teaching kids using one or two teaching methods
Typically, teachers have defaulted to talking, reading and some visual aids to impact knowledge to learners and those children that don’t learn using these primary methods are at a disadvantaged and are often labelled as challenged. There are at least 6 different ways in which people learn, and entrepreneurs often fall into the lesser known ones. By blending methodologies that include interpersonal, kinaesthetic and intrapersonal with the more traditional ones, entrepreneurs will learn more effectively.
2. Stop Rewarding Conformity
Maybe it comes from a fear of anarchy or lawlessness, but the stringent rules that exist in schools punish children for exhibiting individualism and reward children for staying in line. Quite literally. This unwavering adherence to the rules without question, breeds thinkers of the same calibre and releases into the world children that cannot function without set structures that they must conform to when they actually need to be creatively problem solving in order to make a mark for themselves.
3. Stop Measuring Memory
How well a child can retain the dates, figures, theories or equations does not indicate the measure of a child’s intelligence. It only indicates how well their memory works and how adept the learner is at recalling what they have read or been taught. Remembering, according to Bloom’s Taxonomy, is a lower order thinking skill. Instead, let’s measure critical thinking, interrogation of ideas, application of thinking across contexts.
4. Stop Being a Teacher
When the world relied on a central person as the curator of knowledge, the world needed teachers. They were idolised and hailed as a custodian of growth and development due to the fact that they knew more about their subject than anyone else in society.
Today, the internet is the purveyor of information, a teacher if you will, and children no longer need to be taught the information but what to do with it. So long as children can read, the job of person at the front of the class is to educate not to teach.
5. Stop Running a Factory
From the uniforms to the desks to the bell that signals the start and end of lessons and the allotted amount of time dedicated to eating and going to the bathroom, schools are churning out citizens primed for factory work. The production line mentality has been conditioned into our children so much so that with the entry of technological automation and the removal of the human element in these mundane, routine tasks, we make them immediately redundant to the world.
6. Stop Labelling Every Disruptive Child as ADHD/ADD
As an educator myself and now an entrepreneur, I recognise the exhausting and relentless burden that our school-based teachers bare. They are weighed down with administration and parental expectations all whilst trying to navigate an education system that is increasingly deficient. Any child that does not learn in the usual manners and requires more attention or additional stimulation by non-traditional teaching methods.
If, as a country, we are dedicated to changing the current economic outlook not just for ourselves but for those that will inherit this legacy then the systems that shape our thinking must be changed too. Entrepreneurial thinking and action is discouraged and punished in our current education system and only once children leave behind the 12 years spent at school can they begin to unlearn this way of mental conditioning and become active citizens.
Chivas Venture Calling On South African Start-ups To Win A Share Of $1 million
South African applications for the Chivas Venture 2019 Now Open!
Today Chivas Regal announced the launch of the Chivas Venture 2019 – a global competition that gives away $1 million in no-strings funding every year to the hottest social start-ups from around the world.
The Chivas Venture provides a global platform for innovative enterprises that are using business to solve an array of social and environmental issues – and today marks the opening of the South African applications.
Since the competition’s launch in 2014, Chivas Venture-supported enterprises have enriched the lives of more than 1 million people in over 40 countries, across six continents.
Just as Chivas blends together whiskies to create award-winning Scotch, the Chivas Venture champions entrepreneurs who blend profit and purpose. Chivas’ belief in blending ambition with generosity, and in using success to enrich the lives of others, was instilled in the 19th century by founding brothers James and John Chivas. Today that philosophy is kept alive not only through award-winning Scotch, but also through initiatives including the Chivas Venture.
Richard Black, Global Marketing Director for Chivas, said:
“At Chivas we believe that blended is better – in life, business and Scotch – and the 100 finalists we have supported to date have proved this, finding the right blend of profit and purpose in their ventures. Since taking part, finalists have reported saving 8 million trees from deforestation, providing 24 million litres of safe drinking water to those in need, and funding 75,000 days of education for women and girls – and that’s just a few examples. The Chivas Venture is continuing to have a global impact and we are proud to be investing another $1 million for 2019.”
Applicants in each participating country will compete in local heats, with the South African winner flying to the United Kingdom to take part in an exclusive Accelerator Programme. Hosted by The Conduit – a new London establishment that serves as a home for a diverse community of people who are passionate about social change – the intensive training programme will give the global finalists the chance to hone their business and pitching skills.
Following the Accelerator Programme, the allocation of the first $100,000 of the fund will be put into the hands of the public with three weeks of online voting. The Chivas Venture 2019 will then culminate in a series of high-stake pitches at the Global Final in Europe, where the finalists will battle it out for the remainder of the $1 million fund.
Radley Connor, Marketing Manager for Chivas Regal SA says, “The Chivas Venture is an amazing platform for South African social entrepreneurs to attract investment and gain global exposure. The competition rewards and celebrates individuals whose purpose is to make a positive difference to society. If you have a great idea, that meets the requirements, we encourage you to enter.”
In 2017, innovative South African water company I-Drop water placed third in the global finals, walking away with close to R1 million in funding. Since winning, founder James Steere has received interest from investors globally.
Clement Mokoenene is the 2018 South African winner and the creator of the Vehicle Harvest Energy System (VEHS). His business is able to generate electricity at a much lower, affordable cost than coal-fired power stations which South Africa currently relies on. The system works by installing an overlay on the existing road to extract the pressure and transferring it to the side of the road, similar to a wind turbine. Mokoenene says a 1km highway stretch could generate enough energy to supply the entire South Africa.
To apply for the Chivas Venture 2019 and find out more about why blending profit and purpose is better, visit the Chivas Venture website.
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