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Colds In The Workplace

January 30, 2007
An article in the Washington Post today repeats that old "common cold costs money to the workplace" mantra by stating that, "An estimated $40 billion each year, according to a 2003 economic analysis by the University of Michigan for both direct and indirect costs for medical treatment and lost work time. As the researchers noted, that's a higher economic burden than some more-serious conditions impose."

The common cold has been with the human race longer than fire and poking things with sticks. So why do we presume there is such a thing as a "cold-free" human race, and chalk up "lost work time" to it, as if there is such an attainable state as a cold-free workplace?

How can a thus-far unpreventable activity (suffering from a cold) built into the human race be "costing" us anything? How much do lavatory visits affect work place productivity? Breaking news: Bathroom breaks cost U.S. businesses $25 billion dollars per year! If we could cut them out, think how much more productive we'd be. And let's not even think about how much employee meal breaks cut out of a business' profits. And don't get me started on the need for sleep...

Doesn't much make sense, does it?


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