George Hand, sales manager for cleaning, hygiene and catering, Office Depot UK & Ireland.
Now the spring season is fully upon us, many businesses will start thinking about the annual ‘spring cleaning’ ritual. Not only is this the perfect time of year to ensure dust and grime is removed from all areas of the workplace, it is also a great opportunity to reflect on health and safety in the workplace and remove any potential hazards.
Conducting a spring clean can help boost the productivity of employees and reduce the unnecessary stress that can result from an untidy office. Ensuring that the working environment is hygienic can also have a positive influence on employee sickness rates by removing any possible breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses.
However, when conducting their annual deep-clean, many businesses fail to engage individual employees. Making sure the whole team works together in cleaning their individual workstations and ensuring each employee makes hygiene a priority can increase efficiency, productivity and the wellbeing of the entire workforce.
When it comes to beginning a systematic spring clean, effectively communicating with employees is important. Employers should set an example by delivering a ‘top down’ approach to the cleaning regime, reinforcing the individual responsibilities each employee has in relation to maintaining a tidy and hygienic working environment.
Some employees may already be aware of their role in keeping their individual workstation clean. However, it is still worth business leaders regularly reminding the whole team to clear their desks at the end of each day. This may include securely disposing of unwanted files and washing up any mugs, cutlery or plates they have used. Businesses should further educate their employees about their responsibility for the office’s cleaning routine by hanging posters and including helpful reminders in emails and memos.
Comprehensive company policies, for instance implementing a ‘clear desk policy’, are also useful in keeping the entire workplace clean and tidy. By taking advantage of a whole team effort where each employee does their bit on a regular basis, the need for expansive cleaning and tidying sessions in the future is reduced.
Evidently, a clear desk policy will only be successful if appropriate and adequate products are made available for every staff member. As well as providing the appropriate cleaning supplies, supplying every member of staff with enough storage space for their work materials is important. This could include providing office desks that come with integrated storage or perhaps investing in standalone cupboards or filing cabinets. Employers should also issue guidance on the correct cleaning practices, for example, how to dispose of paper sustainably and in compliance with GDPR legislation.
Employers should further use the spring clean as an opportunity to engage more closely with the green agenda. The specific products being purchased should be evaluated in terms of both their environmental impact and cost efficiency. Microfibre cloths, for instance, are continuously improving, facilitating a similar standard of cleaning whilst requiring smaller amounts of chemicals and water.
However, the hunt for products which are efficient, yet cause minimal damage to the environment can be complicated due to the vast assortments of accreditations and certifications which can be found on eco-labels. Employers should ensure that they carry out thorough research into these products and that cleaning product marques and labels are easy to understand.
Businesses which normally buy pre-diluted chemicals could benefit by buying concentrate in bulk and utilising a dilution control system. These systems function by using dispensers to manage and control the amount of concentrate needed to achieve a high standard of cleaning, requiring less storage space and fewer deliveries.
Consolidating the supply chain and purchasing cleaning tools and chemicals from a single partner who can provide a range of products, rather than from a multitude of different suppliers, can also provide a number of business benefits. Having a single supplier can have a positive impact on a business’ carbon footprint as well as being cost-effective, requiring fewer deliveries. Furthermore, a worthwhile and mutually-beneficial relationship can be established when partnering with a single supplier. The trust and loyalty resulting from this can potentially benefit the business in terms of securing more favourable deals.
A tidy and hygienic workplace has long proved to be beneficial for the productivity and wellbeing of employees. Spring is the ideal time for businesses to freshen up the working environment and for implementing new cleaning policies. However, business leaders should encourage each member of staff to take responsibility for their individual cleaning and work as a team to create a pleasant workplace for everyone.