If you manage an office, you’ve likely seen how fast germs can spread. If one employee comes to work sick, it’s usually not long before their colleagues start sniffling. According to research from the University of Arizona, a single sick employee can infect half of the office’s commonly touched surfaces in just a few hours. By the end of the day, the risk of getting sick from a contaminated object is still high because it only takes a small amount of exposure to catch something.
Even if your employees understand infection control, it can still be a challenge to keep a workplace clean and healthy. What if your office contains hundreds, or possibly even thousands, of workers? The good news is that there are several ways to improve workplace cleanliness, no matter the size of your workforce. We’ll share some tips for achieving a cleaner and healthier work environment and show you how easy it can be.
Importance of a Clean Workplace
A clean office is essential to your employees’ health and well-being, regardless of your industry. When you focus on hygiene, you reduce exposure to harmful viruses, bacteria, mold and dust. Having a clean work environment offers many benefits, such as:
- Improving air quality.
- Boosting productivity.
- Leading to fewer sick days.
- Improving employees’ mental health.
- Making a great impression on clients.
Overall, a clean office makes employees healthier, happier and more efficient. It shows you care about your staff and the environment, and it can also help visitors feel more confident in your company.
7 Tips for a Healthier Office
Ready to make your employees feel appreciated and more comfortable at work? The following tips will show you how to have a healthy workplace:
1. Hire Professional Cleaners
Sometimes, it’s best to leave cleaning tasks to the professionals, especially if you own a large office building or want to ensure your workplace is sparkling. Cleaning professionals are trained to clean and disinfect an office’s surfaces thoroughly and efficiently, including common germ-filled areas and hard-to-reach places. They have the experience, supplies and training to keep your office as germ- and stress-free as possible.
2. Use Green Cleaning Products
Cleaning products should create a healthier environment, but some cleaners, such as those containing hazardous chemicals, can actually make employees feel sick. Many standard cleaning products reduce indoor air quality and cause headaches and throat and eye irritation. Some may cause asthma attacks in certain individuals.
Green cleaning products, on the other hand, do not contain hazardous chemicals and are therefore less likely to make employees sick. Sustainable products are also better for the environment since they include nontoxic ingredients and come in recyclable packaging. To create a truly clean office that promotes good health, go with green cleaners whenever you can.
3. Send Sick Employees Home
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers must keep a clean and healthy work environment for their employees. While it may not always be obvious if an individual is sick, you’ll want to encourage workers to go home if they complain of symptoms or show signs of illness. If you feel an employee is putting their co-workers at risk of becoming ill, you can require them to go home, even if they say they can work.
By sending a sick person home, you make your other workers feel much more comfortable, and you give the ill employee a chance to recover. Truthfully, many individuals want their sick co-workers to stay home, and it upsets them when they come to work. According to an Office Pulse survey, one in five business professionals would give up a vacation day to keep a sick co-worker home.
Sending an ill employee home is also better for business. Every person who comes into contact with the individual’s germs and gets sick will cause higher productivity loss. Depending on the illness, they could wind up missing days of work — maybe even weeks. It’s better to send one employee home than lose several members of your team within the same period.
4. Give Your Employees Sick Time
About a third of employees will come to work when they’re sick because they don’t want to lose their vacation time. It’s understandable that workers don’t want to spend their vacation lying in bed when they’d rather be relaxing on the beach. By offering sick time, employees won’t have to sacrifice their vacation days and will be more likely to take time off to recover. As a result, they’ll avoid going to work and possibly sharing their germs with co-workers and clients.
If you have a sick time policy in place, make sure employees know you support and encourage them to stay home when they don’t feel well. That way, they won’t feel pressured to come to work while sick or feel guilty for being absent.
5. Offer Hand Sanitizer
Hand sanitizer is a simple and affordable way to stop the spread of germs in the workplace. Providing hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol can decrease the number of germs employees encounter throughout the day. When people don’t have time to wash their hands with soap and water, hand sanitizer offers a convenient, time-saving solution. It can be especially helpful in germy areas like meeting rooms, break rooms or employees’ desks.
To ensure your employees can use hand sanitizer easily, make sure the dispensers are accessible and easy to see. Place them next to commonly touched surfaces such as doorknobs and copying machines, and encourage your workers to help themselves. Simple interventions like giving individuals hand sanitizer might reduce their risk of getting infected by a workplace virus to less than 10%.
6. Keep Bathroom Soap Dispensers Full
One of the most frustrating restroom-related experiences is finding an empty soap dispenser at the sink. Just like toilet paper dispensers, soap dispensers should rarely, if ever, be empty. Show your employees you care about their health and well-being and always make sure the soap dispensers in the bathrooms and kitchens are full.
Germs spread when people touch a contaminated surface and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth. Therefore, an easy and extremely effective way to prevent the spread of illness is to encourage employees to wash their hands regularly. It’s critical for your cleaning staff to monitor the soap supply and keep the dispensers full.
7. Remove Clutter
The presence of clutter can have detrimental effects in the workplace. It can make it harder to clean and disinfect surfaces because it gets in the way. Clutter also takes a toll on mental health and can lead to increased stress, which weakens the immune system.
Employees might not have the time they need to remove clutter from their desks during a regular workday. To solve the clutter problem, consider scheduling time for workers to tidy up their workspaces at least every quarter or once a year. They will feel less pressured to rush through the process if they have time in their schedule to declutter, and they’ll enjoy an organized, easy-to-maintain space as a result.
Create a Healthy Workplace With Shine Facility Services
A clean, healthy work environment supports employee well-being and promotes productivity. It’s much easier to focus on the job when you don’t have to waste time worrying about germs or illness. As a manager, you may be wondering how to keep up with cleaning tasks and ensure a high level of cleanliness and safety for your staff. You don’t have to handle the challenge alone. At Shine Facility Services, we’ll take care of it for you.
At Shine, we are committed to providing high-quality commercial cleaning services and exceeding our clients’ expectations. Our trained professionals use the latest and most effective green cleaning products to make your workplace healthier for employees and give your company a competitive edge. To learn more about our eco-friendly cleaning services, contact us today — we’ll be happy to meet your needs!