Advantages of a clean workplace

10th of April 2019 Article by Christian Bouzols
Advantages of a clean workplace

A French cleaning company has carried out a survey to determine just how important a clean workplace is among workers - writes Christian Bouzols.

Enjoying a clean environment in their daily home and working lives is a fundamental issue for the French. But is doesn’t mean that the matter is much talked about in public debates. That’s why a leading French cleaning company, Onet, decided to task a polling company, IPSOS, with carrying out a survey among French workers to find out to what extent cleanliness is important for them, and to know more about its impact on their wellbeing and motivation.

The results of the survey were pretty much as expected but at least they confirmed that in the office, people prefer it when it’s clean! Beyond this obvious finding, the survey also noted that a clean environment has other, less visible consequences.

Based on a questionnaire involving 1,000 workers aged 18 to 65, and spending at least 60 per cent of their time at the office, the survey found cleanliness had real consequences for staff wellbeing and efficiency. It showed 94 per cent of French wage earners consider cleanliness as a promoter of a good atmosphere at work, and 93 per cent of them feel more motivated when their working environment is clean. Also, 85 per cent of the employees surveyed felt cleanliness helped them to perform better, and 80 per cent then thought it reduced their stress level.

The contrary was also true. While cleanliness was good for wellbeing and performance, its absence - including the presence of dirt and untidiness - had been a source of conflict for no fewer than half the workers surveyed. This situation was noted particularly in some workplace arrangements such as flexible offices, where workers don’t have fixed a fixed work station of their own. In such cases, the proportion of workers who reported having been in conflict situations shot up to 62 per cent.

“Tensions arise in those cases because it’s always the same people who do the cleaning,” was one conclusion.

Among the 20 areas covered the most critical were the toilets, the kitchen corner, the canteen, the work stations and the computer equipment. Due to hygiene problems encountered in company washrooms, one French worker out of two prefers not to use them.

Although 86 per cent of office employees consider cleanliness to be the employer’s responsibility, 95 per cent of these same employees also agree staff should assume some responsibility for maintaining their working environment clean. The solution was therefore to call on the sense of civic responsibility of everyone. In fact, 81 per cent of employees surveyed thought some kind of penalty should be introduced to punish those co-workers that don’t behave considerately in regard to hygiene and cleanliness.

Regarding the cleaners, who are surely the main actors in the business of keeping the workplace clean, they are treated in a kindly manner by the employees. Eight out of 10 commend the quality of cleaners’ work, and nine out of 10 always try to helpful to the cleaners. They claim when they meet cleaners within the premises they usually exchange small talk with them.

However, the duties of cleaners are not always clearly understood and this can give rise to some tensions. For example, should cleaners wash plates and cutlery in the kitchen corner? What has been agreed about this?


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