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How a clean workplace can boost employee productivity and morale

Date Posted: 05.12.19
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One issue that plagues every business in South Wales is low productivity Which can have an effect on cash flow and ability to grow. When running a business, productivity and performance are key, but with the days getting shorter and the winter weather setting in, it can be difficult to maintain a productive and well workforce.

In the UK it’s estimated that the annual cost for sickness leave is around £554 per person. These unplanned absences and sick days are estimated to decrease UK productivity by 54% overall. It could also decrease sales and customer service performance by up to 39% which could create losses in any business. So, the important question is – how much of that lost productivity and time could be avoided?

When comparing the list of reasons for absence, poor hygiene and cleanliness in the workplace were at the top of the list.  The most common cause for short term absences for businesses is usually minor illnesses such as colds, flu, stomach bugs, headaches and migraines.  With a range of additional distractions for employees which can affect productivity, what can you do to keep your employees focused and motivated this winter?

But where do hygiene and cleanliness come into maintaining productivity? Well, we’ll tell you…

Reducing absenteeism

With common illnesses such as Cold & Flu and stomach bugs contributing to employees being absent, it is sensible to look at how you can reduce the spread of germs within the workplace. Many employees believe that their workplace contributed to them becoming ill and having to take leave with 68% believing that lack of hygiene was a factor for the absence.

Although absences can put a strain on businesses, it can put a tremendous strain on other employees, with them having to cover other employees work – reducing their capacity and quality of work.

Studies showed shocking figures with 78% of employees suggesting that the level of cleanliness at work affected their health and also increased the chances of allergies and spreading of germs – which makes it the number one place when thinking about productivity problems within your business.

So, there is no surprise that there is still more needed to be done to make the workplace hygienic and improve worker hygiene to minimise the spread of infection and ill-health. Even a small reduction in sickness absence can have a significant impact on productivity, especially for larger businesses. So, the next question is, how do you tackle those who come to work whilst they are ill?

Tackling presenteeism too

Now businesses are all for employees showing their dedication to working hard, but sometimes that can be counter-productive and risk the health of other employees.  In the UK, presenteeism is a big problem within businesses and in a survey run by vitality health, it was estimated that businesses within the UK can lose up to £77billion a year due to presenteeism.

As mentioned before, businesses are all for employees showing their dedication to their work, but if they come into work whilst ill, it can see them easily passing germs to other employees or worse putting themselves at risk, by putting themselves under pressure to get work done which is even more costly to businesses (estimates in recent years for sick day costs varied from £13bn to £29bn).

With employees losing the equivalent of 30.4 days due to sick days or underperformance as a result of ill health, it is probably time that we reverse our thinking and go back to prevent illnesses rather than encouraging employees to work through their illness.

Although seeing a reduction in sick days is a brilliant sign within your business, don’t be fooled by it – if you have taken notice of this, record how many days employees come into work ill and you may see a different picture to what your statistics are saying.

Productivity and presence in the workplace are not the same, so think about how you encourage employees when they are poorly.

Reduce work-related stressors

Coming into work whilst ill and having to work can cause employees stress, but so does an unclean and untidy workplace. Having an unclean and untidy workplace will lead to high-stress levels in employees.

An in-depth study explored how students in higher education were affected by cleanliness in their schools. 84% of students wanted ‘tidiness’ or spotlessness’ on the cleanliness scale saying it would provide a good learning environment. The study also found that an unclean building triggered a negative impact on students and heightened their stress levels.

So, it’s no surprise that with the always-on world we know live and work in that stress-related absence is on the increase. With heavy workloads being the most common cause for workplace stress, it means that employees are working longer hours giving them more time to spread illness when up against tight deadlines which creates a vicious cycle of sickness, pressure, stress and long-term sickness that all businesses fear.

And also, don’t forget that for some employees, an unhygienic workplace can create stress for them so don’t underestimate how much cleanliness impacts a person’s ability to focus.  If you know someone who prefers to work in a clean and tidy office – they will let you know how much order and de-cluttering can improve their performance.

Boosting overall productivity and focus at work

Studies carried out have found that cleanliness correlated significantly with higher productivity from employees. Good standards of cleaning can positively impact an employee and that it contributes to overall employee satisfaction too. When your employees work environment is clean – staff will be happier and work harder.

But what else can you do to boost productivity?

Reduce Distractions

To keep employees focused and productive, it important that their work environment is in order and clean. Dinginess such as dusty skirting boards, full waste bins, fingerprints on glass and wall, dusty light fixtures can easily distract employees.

Reduce opportunities for employees to procrastinate and let them focus on what you employ them to do. Cleaning and hygiene should be a top priority when reducing lost productivity time.

Improve image and morale

When meeting new clients or dealing with current clients, they will make judgements on how you present yourself. A bad image or poor cleanliness can put customers or future employees off and you will be surprised at what people will pick up on.

When meeting a new client or employee, you want to make the right statement about your standards and ensure that facilities (both public-facing and internal) and create a positive impact. If your business has low standards of cleanliness it will only lower staff morals and give new clients and employees, the wrong impression of your business.  Think about how you want your business premises to represent you and your company values. If ‘attention to detail’ is one of your values, then you should live up to it. Showing pride in your company and workplace can help boost performance when employees feel responsible for their place of work. They will also be more likely to treat their workplace with care and keep it spic and span.

Poor productivity and absenteeism creates substantial costs to UK organisations and yet it is a problem that can easily be rectified with proper cleaning practises.

To see how A&R Cleaning Services can help improve your cleaning standards and regime, give us a call on 01656 71950 or visit our website to see why we are businesses number one choice for professional cleaning services and business cleaning services in South Wales.

We would love to show you how we ensure our staff provide you with the very best job for you and your business.

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