An unhygienic workplace results in an unhealthy workforce, negatively impacting on productivity, staff morale and brand image. A key element to any employer’s strategic plan should be maintaining employee wellness, and developing a culture of cleanliness, productivity and sustainability.
The 2012 Tork Report states that the average work area (desk) can carry 400 times more dangerous bacteria than a public toilet seat, making eating lunch at your computer less hygienic than having a bite while in a restroom. This is the harsh reality of many workplaces that either aren’t cleaned effectively, or utilise ineffective products that simply don’t work.
The approach to ensuring the workplace is truly clean involves four key steps; the products used, the frequency of cleaning, the training of custodial staff, and developing hygiene policies that staff are required to adhere to.
When considering which products to use, cost, performance and sustainability should be taken into account. Although chemical cleaners are generally accepted and widely used, their long-term effectiveness cannot compare to the ongoing cleaning activity that is achieved by using green, biological products. These products contain good bacteria that continue “eating” the dirt long after application, and are able to break through the biofilm that protects the bad bacteria beneath it (a film that chemical products cannot penetrate). These products generally eliminate malodours, rather than masking them, are highly concentrated making them more cost effective, and are environmentally friendly.
The question of frequency can only be answered when all the factors of the particular workplace are considered. Wonder Janitorial Services states that the following should be taken into account; the size of the building, the number of employees present daily, and the nature of the business. Certain areas require daily attention, such as the restrooms, the break room and the kitchen.
No matter the quality of the cleaning products used, or how often the offices are cleaned, if the custodial staff aren’t trained in the correct cleaning techniques the desired hygienic outcome will not be achieved. Whether hiring a dedicated cleaner as an employee, or contracting a professional cleaning service provider, check credentials, call references and make sure that the cleaning will be effective, efficient and hygienically focussed. Sending existing custodial staff on cleaning specific training, developing a documented job description and monitoring performance is essential.
Lastly, developing hygiene policies that all staff must adhere to will aid in keeping the workplace environment clean and healthy. Just one litre of oil can contaminate a million litres of water. Similarly, one unhygienic or unsanitary employee can undo the cleaning efforts of the rest.
By investing in cleanliness, businesses are investing in productivity, health and a more engaged workforce – essential elements to business success.
By Clinton Smith, Sales and Technical Director at Green Worx Cleaning Solutions
Issued by Perfect Word Consulting (Pty) Ltd