Clean, hygienic workplaces are healthy workplaces. Even if a building or office looks clean, germs and bacteria may be hidden, waiting to infect the next person to come along. That’s why thorough, regular cleaning is important – whether the building appears to be clean or not.
Cleaning for health isn’t just a “nice to have”; it generates a positive return on investment! Absenteeism and presenteeism (when employees are physically at work but mentally compromised by illness) have a cumulative effect which can cost a business anywhere from thousands to millions of dollars each year (depending on the size of the business, of course!). Reducing the incidence and spread of workplace illness has a real bottom line impact on productivity, and limits the number of sick days employees need to take.
Here are the top three easy ways to make your workplace healthier and decrease lost productivity due to illness:
1. Schedule Regular Touch Point Cleaning
Touch points are the “hotspots” in your building that are touched most often as people pass through. These are the prime locations for cross-infection, making them the most important places to ensure are cleaned regularly.
Some examples of touch points are:
These spots need to be disinfected frequently – especially during flu season. It’s the best way to stop the spread of infection and illness.
2. Promote Handwashing
Did you know that only 1/3 adults wash their hands after coughing or sneezing? Yet handwashing can significantly cut back on sickness – it has even been shown to help hospitals reduce hospital-acquired infections. It’s so simple, but so important.
Employers should promote and encourage handwashing throughout their organization. It’s an inexpensive way to help employees stay healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US has some great resources to use for handwashing promotion, including posters, videos, and fact sheets. Check it out here!
Employers and building managers can also consider installing hands-free technology that makes it easier to keep hands clean, such as touchless toilet flushers, soup dispensers, faucets, and paper tower machines.
3. Improve Indoor Air Quality
Employees spend the majority of their day inside the office or workplace; according to Health Canada, we spend close to 90% of our time inside. If the indoor air quality (IAQ) is poor, it can exacerbate illness, allergies, and asthma, causing ongoing absenteeism and presenteeism.
Indoor air pollutants include mould, bacteria, dust mites and dust, tobacco smoke, chemicals from certain cleaning products, and so on.
Here are the key ways to improve IAQ in your office or building:
Proper ventilation (and make sure the vents aren’t blocked by furniture or anything else!)