Creating a Productive Workplace: The Impact of a Clean Office Environment

We think nothing of keeping our homes clean, but does the same always apply to our workplace environments? The recent pandemic sharpened a lot of people’s attention towards what we can all do to keep our businesses clean, but the advantages of keeping them fresh stretch far beyond protecting staff from potentially life-threatening viruses. 

blonde woman filling in cleanliness report

Benefits of Having a Clean Work Environment

All employers have a legal requirement to keep their workplaces safe for their staff, and this extends to keeping it clean as well. But the benefits of maintaining a clean working space stretch beyond ticking boxes to satisfy legal requirements.

Employee Wellbeing

Maintaining a clean working environment can have significant positive effects for both the mental and physical wellbeing of your staff. Keeping your office clean and organised can help to keep them focussed and their stress levels down, while a clean office can improve air quality, reduce the spread of illness, and increase the overall well-being of employees.

Boosted Morale and Motivation

A happy workplace is a more productive workplace, and studies have found that both morale and motivation are improved by keeping your workplace clean. A 2021 study by the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA) found 88% of respondents stating that their concentration and productivity is compromised by untidy workspace, while a 2015 study (PDF) by Staples found that 94% of workers reported feeling more productive when they are exposed to a clean work environment, while 77% stated that a clean workplace enables them to generate higher quality work.

The Impact of a Clean Office Environment on Productivity

Of course, ‘productivity’ can mean different things to different people, so let’s have a more detailed at how this breaks down in real terms.

Reduced Sick Leave

A 2016 study in the USA on hand-hygiene found a clear correlation between cleanliness and employee illness. According to the report: “Hygiene-preventable health care claims were significantly reduced in the intervention group by over 20%. Absenteeism was positively impacted overall for the intervention group. Employee survey data showed significant improvements in hand hygiene behavior and perception of company concern for employee well-being.”

Reducing absenteeism is good for the bottom line of your business. Whether your business pays staff in full or Statutory Sick Pay when they’re sick, any member of staff who has to call out couldn’t be less productive for your business. Keeping your office clean and hygienic is an easy way to reduce this in a way that also positive health outcomes for your employees.

Enhanced Focus and Concentration

Focus and concentration can be key to maintaining high productivity levels, but they can be easy to lose in the wrong working environment. A clutter-free workplace, in which your employees know where they can quickly and easily find the tools that they need to do their jobs, minimises distractions, allowing them to focus on their tasks at hand. Furthermore, cleanliness promotes a sense of professionalism and pride in one’s work, further motivating people to perform at their best at all times.

There are simple changes that you can make which will enhance the focus and concentration of your employees. Ensuring that everything is regularly disinfected will keep the majority of germs at bay, while cables and wires should be hidden away so that they don’t run the risk of tripping anyone up. You may find that limiting the availability of office supplies and the personal effects that employees bring in with them can also have a positive influence on minimising distraction.

Cleanliness in the Workplace: Best Practices

So, how do you start to start to put these principles into practice? Here are some handy hints and tips for how you can start to take control of your workplace’s cleanliness.

a woman wipes a photocopier in an office

Regular Cleaning Routines

There’s little point in going in hard with a brand new cleaning routine if you don’t follow up on it. It doesn’t take long for dust and debris to start accumulating again, so set a regular schedule for a thorough clean to be carried out at your premises. By getting into the habit of ensuring that it gets done regularly, you’ll find that there is less work to do than there is by leaving it until it can’t be ignored any more!

Many businesses now use professional cleaning companies to keep their premises clean. These cost money, of course, but you will save considerably on time and effort, and by using the services of a reputable cleaning company you can ensure that the work is carried out to the level that you expect, by professionals with invaluable experience in the business of keeping businesses clean.

Employee Involvement

Your staff will benefit from keeping their work environment clean. The extent to which you wish to impress upon them that is their responsibility is up to you. After all, it’s your business. But you might find a more collaborative attitude to be more effective. Having competitions between departments for reducing the unnecessary use of materials, for example, is not only good for the environment, but will be good for your bottom line as well as reducing waste and consequently cleaning. A gentle reminder or two that this is where they spend a lot of their week won’t do any harm; after all, they’ll be the main beneficiaries of it!

Maintaining a Clean Work Environment: Tips and Tricks

At the absolute root of maintaining a clean work environment is the fact that you don’t have as much cleaning to do if you don’t make as much mess. You may want to consider decluttering your workspace, if possible. Secure storage would cost money, but those piles of papers in dusty old cardboard folders may not need to be stored onsite.

Desk Organisation

In an office environment, having orderly individual workspaces is important to maintaining cleanliness. Make sure that wires and cables are tidied away, and that keyboards, phones, and tabletops are regularly cleaned with disinfectant. You can even institute a ‘clean desk’ policy, in which everything is to be stored away until needed. This sort of policy should really already be mandatory in some sectors, such as finance.

And remember that this is really in the best interests of your staff. A clean and tidy environment can easily result in a ‘tidy’ mind and more ordered thinking, and ensuring that desks are clean and uncluttered can have a positive impact on your staff in a range of ways. The calmer their working environment the less likely they are to suffer stress, and their focus may improve.

Common Areas and Shared Spaces

Make it easy for your staff. Ensure that you have clearly identifiable bins for different types of waste, and ensure that there are readily available cleaning products in bathroom and kitchen areas. We already know that working in an unclean environment is bad for morale. Encourage them to remember that this is their shared space, and that they do have a responsibility to keep those spaces clean; not even necessarily to you, but to their colleagues.

Benefits of a Clean Work Environment for Businesses

The benefits of maintaining a clean workspace don’t only apply to your staff, they apply to you too! We’ve already looked at the extent to which reducing waste output can help to keep your office cleaner and boost your bottom line, but it doesn’t end there.

Positive Brand Image

In an age in which brand image has never been more important, you need to ensure that yours is as positive as possible. Having clean premises tells the outside world that this is a serious venture, that your company sets standards and adheres to them. There are numerous subliminal ways in which it strikes a chord with people.

The most obvious way in which this can matter is in terms of your own clients. Whether you’re buying or selling, ensure that any entrance or reception areas are absolutely spotless and looking their best. This can directly impact your bottom line. You only get one chance to make a further impression, after all.

Employee Retention and Recruitment

These first impressions also apply to recruitment. In a competitive labour market, the best talent may have a choice over where they end up working, so even in interview situations remember that, to a point, you may be being interviewed too!

A clean work environment also contributes to employee satisfaction and retention. Replacing staff always costs money, in the recruitment process (both financially and in terms of time), in training, and in allowing forbearance for mistakes while they’re acquiring the required knowledge to be able to do their new job properly.

When staff leave, they take everything they’ve learned with them, and experienced staff are an extremely valuable commodity to have on your side. Your chances of retaining those experienced staff can be greatly enhanced by making your premises somewhere that someone would want to work.

Are There Professional Services for Maintaining a Clean Office?

At Hashtag Clean, we take a different approach to the cleaning industry which guarantees you a bespoke cleaning service according to your standards, and we specialise in both office and commercial cleaning. Contact us today for a quote!

The benefits to having a clean office are manifold. It’s good for your staff, which is in turn good for their productivity and wellbeing, which is not only good for your bottom line but good for everybody. Feel free to browse the further resources on our website for in-depth insights and actionable tips. For a relatively modest outlay, you could even find yourself changing your own life and those of your staff for the better.

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