office hygiene

Poor office hygiene can lead to both physical and mental health problems. The average office worker spends 8 hours a day in their workspace, therefore, it is critical these long lengths are spent in a clean, hygienic and comfortable environment.  GCC Facilities Management, providers of commercial and office cleaning, recently conducted a survey involving over 650 office workers to discover how often offices and office items were cleaned. You can see a full range of their commercial cleaning services here.

Data from The ONS has revealed a staggering increase of over 12 million sick days for preventable illness since 2011. This has cost businesses millions and shows the worrying statistics of how many employees are falling ill, even though these infections could have been avoided if proper action had been taken to ensure cleanliness.

GCCFM’s study exposed the shocking statistics behind how many common, germ-harbouring office items are left neglected when it comes to cleaning. 37% of computer mice, 31% of keyboards and 28% of telephones are never cleaned, considering we have such high contact with these items throughout our day, it is concerning how many of these are left to grow bacteria.

Below are 6 reasons why keeping on top of office hygiene is important for you and your workforce.

1. Employee Welfare

It has been proven that a clean and tidy workspace will increase morale and happiness within employees. In turn, this increases efficiency and productivity.

If unsanitary conditions are forced upon staff members, mental health can quickly deteriorate, and you could see a dramatic increase in resignations as this continues.

If you are not happy with your working conditions, it is unlikely your staff are satisfied with them. Ensuring a well-maintained office space shows your respect for employees and that you value their wellbeing when working.

2. Maintains A Positive Image

It is not just your workforce who will be left deflated from witnessing poor office hygiene. Visiting suppliers, clients and investors may also be visiting your building.

In business, first impressions really do count and presenting these visitors with a professional environment is crucial.

If you present them with a poor image of your business, you leave yourself at the risk of losing business. Negative words travel fast through industries and even if your service or product is exceptional, you can put yourself in danger of generating a bad reputation due to a sloppy environment.

3.  Employee Health

Catching colds and flu is a massive inconvenience to all those involved. Staff will need time off to recover, others will have to ‘pick up the slack’ and business owners miss out on precious work hours.

But, by maintaining proper hygiene practices, you can prevent these germs from spreading like wildfire throughout the workforce. These bacteria can live on hard surfaces for long periods, so even if those who have fallen ill are not in the office, others still run the risk of catching this.

“Surfaces and equipment can harbour dirt, viruses and bacteria that can remain active for months. Without regular office cleaning and good personal hygiene – e.g. antibacterial hand washing – there’s an increased chance of these surface germs transferring to you and giving you illnesses like flu, food poisoning and diarrhoea.”- Dr Arun Thiyagarajan, Health Clinics Medical Director, from Bupa UK.

With regular cleaning or workstations and shared spaces, you can dramatically reduce the risk of staff bringing a virus into the workplace and spreading it to team members.

4. Health & Safety

Preventing injuries such as slips trips and falls should be at the forefront of every employer’s mind and should be stopped at all costs.

Kitchens, bathrooms and other shared spaces can quickly become hazardous if not properly maintained. More traffic in these areas increases the risk of spillages can swiftly become a threat if not cleared.

Debris left on staircases and in corridors can endanger your workforce. If a serious injury occurs in your office, you may be faced with a lawsuit and if it is proven you did not take proper precaution to prevent this, you could end up paying compensation.

5. Increases Air Quality

Indoors, airborne pollutants can be up to one hundred times greater than outdoors.  This can cause problems for your staff if you do not maintain quality airflow throughout your building, especially if they suffer from asthma or other breathing-related conditions.

If you handle hazardous materials or even have workshops that collect lots of dust and debris, those located in other departments could suffer from these particles drifting into their areas. As this won’t be visible, they may not have taken the proper precautions to protect themselves that those who work closely with these materials do.

By keeping a clean environment, you can contain harmful pollutants and remove them before they spread throughout the workspace. 

6. Saving Money

All workspaces will eventually require refurbishment after wear and tear and causes the area to look a bit lacklustre. This can come at a very high expense to your business.

Although you can never avoid a refurbishment, you can prolong it from proper upkeep.

Flooring, furniture, windows and soft furnishings can be preserved by being regularly cleaned and maintained.

Frequent cleaning is also more cost-effective than periodic deep-cleansing, it could also not be as effective as worked-in dirt and grime is harder to get out and may not be able to be removed. A deep-clean may be more disruptive to your staff and workload as you may have to displace team members while this is going on.

Of those surveyed, 23% stated they are using their own funds to supply their office with cleaning supplies as adequate products are not provided by the business. Do leave your staff suffering financially, physically and mentally by neglecting hygiene and ensure you maintain high standards to benefit every aspect of your business.

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