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Can antibacterial pens really help your business prevent costly sick days?

Since the pandemic, there has been a growing interest in bacteria banishing pens and other similar stationery items. But can your office supplies really help to reduce workplace viruses and infections? We were keen to find out.

The latest Office of National Statistics (ONS) statistics show that on average 38 days are lost per business every year due to colds and flu in the UK, with each member of staff taking a total of around 4.4 sick days a year.

Taking the average UK salary of £27,600 for full time workers, coughs and colds can become a costly business for companies working out at around £107 a day!

It is easy to see why anti-bacterial office supplies could be useful in preventing the spread of unwanted germs. But first let’s explore how they work.

How They Work

An anti-bacterial substance is added to the items during manufacturing which inhibits the growth of bacteria.

It is important to note there are two different types of additives - antibacterial and antimicrobial. Antibacterial technology is effective against bacteria only, whereas antimicrobial technology is effective against bacteria and microbes including mould, fungi and even viruses.

The substance essentially starves the bacteria to prevent it from multiplying, creating an environment where germs can’t thrive. As you touch the pen or item, bacteria is prevented from collecting on its surface but also cleans the person’s hands by destroying potentially threatening bacteria that come into contact with the items.

This means that in high touch areas where pens and stationery will be used by multiple people it prevents bacteria being passed from person to person.

It is also a benefit which lasts the lifetime of the item as the anti-bacterial additive is embedded into the material rather than simply sprayed on or in a surface coating which would fade.

How can they help in busy offices?

Antimicrobial pens have been used for a long time as health and safety best practice in food and drink manufacturing areas reducing the risk of contamination.

However, it isn’t just in manufacturing where we could benefit from the bacteria busting technology.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the average office pen has ten times the number of germs that are on an average toilet seat, at about 200 bacteria per square inch!

In a doctor’s surgery that rises to more than 46,000 extra germs with the sign in pen being one of the top harbourers of bacteria and germs.

Any hard surface can carry germs, with studies in hospitals finding cleaning identity badges and lanyards crucial in preventing the spread of bacteria.

Of course, some bacteria is good in helping our bodies build up a strong immune system so completely wiping out bacteria on surfaces isn’t possible. However, getting the balance right is crucial if we are to reduce sick days and keep a healthy work force.

So, could simple changes like this really help to reduce the number of bugs and bacteria flying around the office?

The answer seems to be yes. In fact research shows that antibacterial technology is effective at stopping the spread of 98% of bacteria and is now available in everything from lanyards and keyrings to notepads and pens.

So, next time you reach for that office pen or borrow a colleague’s swipe card you may want to think about what else you could be inadvertently borrowing.

For more information on the different types of antibacterial stationery and how they may benefit your working environment give the team a call on 0121 430 9000 or email


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