The work environment can often be a petri dish for disease-causing microbes and viruses. Especially after the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers and HR managers are focusing more on hygiene in the modern workplace.
In a 2015 experiment, more than 100 undergraduates were exposed to either a cluttered and uncluttered workspace. The undergraduates were tasked to do a “challenging” task. Those who were in a cluttered space took a little over 11 seconds before giving up. On the other hand, those who were in an organized space spent seven minutes before giving up.
This experiment shows how clutter can undermine someone’s perseverance, which can impact their productivity.
A productive workforce prevents the company from losing at least $2,600 per employee per year, and a robust workplace hygiene policy is the safest way to ensure your employees' well-being in addition to keeping your business afloat.
That said, anyone in the Human Resources department or leadership team can follow these eight hygiene workplace tips to make it happen.
Encourage Personal Hygiene
Poor workplace hygiene is a common health risk for you and your employees. And, if you don't stop the problem straight away, the odds are it will only worsen.
That said, you should encourage everyone in the company to practice personal hygiene. Because people who maintain their hygiene also ensure that they have a clean workspace. After all, keeping a healthy workplace is everyone's responsibility.
It can be something grand as developing an office hygiene policy to something simple like maintaining a clean pantry or bathroom. Mind you, a well-maintained restroom compels employees to do their part in keeping it clean.
You can also provide sanitary items like wipes and hand sanitizer, and place it around the office. When employees see these, they will be reminded to practice personal hygiene without being insensitive.
Educate Your Employees
A good way to nip bad personal hygiene at work in the bud is to encourage workplace hygiene.
You can start with reminding the employees of the importance of handwashing. But you can also put a system in place to ensure that everyone in the office does their due diligence.
This includes having a regular deep cleaning session, which we recommend to our clients at Maid Sailors Office Cleaning Companies NYC. Another example is to place sanitary items around the office.
Another idea is to host a regular competition for the cleanest workspace. If that did not compel your employees to declutter their desks, we don't know what will.
Nonetheless, it's important to let people know the purpose behind this. This includes helping improve their productivity and looking after their well-being.
Set Basic Workspace Maintenance Rules
Workplace cleanliness isn't just important; it's necessary for business continuity. If your organization is still striving to get its cleaning protocols up to regulations, it's time to rethink the plan.
From developing a plan to implementing it, having a maintenance checklist ensures an actionable workplace hygiene initiative. Here are some personal hygiene items you can include in the maintenance checklist:
Bathroom cleaning schedule
Pantry cleaning schedule
List of sanitary supplies and when to replace them
As such, you are reducing the risk of spreading disease-causing bacteria. It also ensures that your employees are not constantly distracted in getting things done. This results in less absenteeism and increased productivity.
Ultimately, it can help your company save hundreds of thousands.
Ensure a Clean Communal Area
Doors, banisters, buttons, and anything that people touch requires frequent cleaning. Here are some places and items you should look out for:
Work surfaces like tables, platforms, and workstations.
Door knobs, window handles, rails, and water dispensers.
Common areas like toilets, reception, changing rooms, corridors, and elevators.
Computer keyboards and monitors, phones, and touch screens.
Water heaters, taps, kettles, fridges, microwaves, and cupboards
As much as possible, clean these fixtures after use. If that does not seem likely, consider hiring people who can keep your office clean regularly.
It would also help to encourage your employees to clean their space before or after work. That way, keeping the workplace spick and span would be easy as a breeze.
But if everyone's pressed for time to help maintain office hygiene and cleanliness, it may be time to hire a professional office cleaner.
Designate Roles and Responsibilities
As a member of the HR department, part of your job is to ensure workplace safety and health. As such, you should educate everyone of any workplace hazards they should look out for, and let the employees know how to escalate the situation appropriately.
For instance, if they see tangled wires that increase the risk of people getting tripped, what can they do about it? Who should they contact?
In relation to this, you consider hiring people who can do such jobs. In this case, perhaps an IT or electrician can do something to manage those wires.
The key here is empowering employees to help the company implement workplace hygiene.
Allow Enough Sick Days
Sure, absenteeism can lead to productivity and financial loss for the company. But that does not mean you should not implement it. After all, the labor laws are clear about it.
In relation to this, you need to ensure the employees that they have enough sick leave and use it when needed. When you do that, it gives them peace of mind knowing that they can rest and recover without compromising their jobs.
However, you should put a policy in place. This includes proper filing of sick leave and letting their colleagues know what to do if they call in sick.
Implement Flexible Work Arrangements
While absenteeism can hinder productivity, there are things you can do to reduce the effects. This includes implementing flexible work hours and remote work arrangements.
For instance, you can let employees be late for a certain number of hours as long as they can offset it. So, if they come into the office at 10 AM, they should clock out at 7 PM.
On the other hand, instead of filing a sick leave, you can encourage employees to work from home if they are unwell — provided that they can manage to work. That way, they can still stay productive even if they are not in the office.
So look for flexible work arrangements that you implement in the company.
Let Employees Raise Their Concerns
As part of the HR department, employees expect that they come to you for work-related help. This includes concerns about maintaining workplace hygiene and cleanliness.
Let people know how to reach you best when they have such a concern, or create an anonymous workflow for employees to submit their feedback without fear of saying what they truly want.
Keeping the office clean is a simple feat that can help the company save hundreds and thousands of dollars in the long run, while also improving employee health and wellbeing. Doing so also reduces absenteeism and increases productivity, which can help the business thrive.
As such, consider putting a workplace hygiene policy in place that includes health and safety protocols, dress code, and other regulations specific to your industry.
Lastly, consider hiring a professional office cleaner, so you can maintain your office's pristine condition without making a dent in the company finances.
Bio: Raymond Chiu is the Director of Operations for Maid Sailors Commercial Cleaning Service New York, a top-rated office cleaning service provider. Matched with affordable prices, we can address even the toughest cleaning needs and can turn your workplace into a healthy, safe, and employee-friendly environment.