Pest infestations are a very real problem for over one in ten UK SMEs (small and medium enterprises) according to new research from Rentokil. The research from the experts in pest control shows that 13% of small and medium businesses have encountered a pest problem in the last year.
The risk that a pest infestation can cause a business will vary according to its sector. However, the research shows that the majority of business owners are most concerned about their employees when it comes to pest problems. Over half of the businesses surveyed (53%) cited employee relationships as a key concern followed closely by damaged reputation (50%) and customer relationships (47%). Rentokil is calling all employers to engage with staff effectively so they fully understand their role in reducing the threat of pests at work.
Looking at what causes pest infestations, 79% of businesses surveyed believe a lack of effective cleaning and maintenance is key. Keeping waste in rubbish bins overnight also impacts on pests with 64% of businesses citing this reason. Staff eating habits can also mean a business is more likely to experience a problem; 56% of SMEs surveyed believe a communal kitchen contributes to pests, with 54% saying staff eating at desks can attract unwelcome guests in the workplace. Despite this, just 40% of SMEs surveyed have invested in a pest strategy.
Rodents emerge as the key pest in the business environment, with 75% of those businesses reporting a pest problem citing mice (39%) and rats (36%) in their premises. Wasps are also highlighted as a common workplace pest with 16% experiencing a wasp problem.
Savvas Othon, Technical Director at Rentokil Pest Control comments:
“With pest control, prevention is better than cure and this is very much how we work with our business customers across all sectors. What this research shows is that businesses do understand the key causes of pest problems but need to act proactively and consistently to minimise these risks. A key step is to ensure you engage with staff effectively so they fully understand their role in reducing the threat of pests at work to create a better, healthy work environment – for both customers and colleagues.”
Savvas Othon continues, “People are a business’ most important asset so it’s understandable that businesses worry about the impact an infestation can have on them. Pests can cause distress to employees from gnawing at computer cables, damaging and soiling products in store-rooms or contaminating food in kitchens. At the heart of preventing an infestation is understanding and assessing the factors contributing to the risk of pest problems in your premises and dealing with them immediately. This is the most effective way to avoid the long-term consequences that a pest problem in your business can bring.”
About the research
Rentokil worked in partnership with IFFR Research to survey 500 owners, MDs, FDs of business with 0-249 employees in October 2011.