The power of ‘thank you’

28th of November 2018
The power of ‘thank you’

UK correspondent Lynn Webster reports on the ‘Thank Your Cleaner Day’ last month.

Many of us recently acknowledged the importance of the cleaning teams in our lives with the ‘Thank your Cleaner Day’ in October. This was also recognised at the World Federation Building Services Congress (WFBSC) in Berlin last year. First launched some three years ago in New Zealand the campaign has gained recognition in 11 countries; demonstrating a clear message of support for the efforts and contribution of cleaning teams worldwide.

Many companies, both clients and service providers, national and local, joined for the first time in the UK. Much of the trade and social media was filled with great stories of individuals who were being recognised for carrying out their hard work diligently, conscientiously and with a smile. Some received flowers and gifts, others treats and even celebration parties.

We were encouraged to take a moment to consider what our surroundings at work, at home, or at play would be like without their dedication, commitment and consistent efforts. A great initiative, this was championed by Kärcher who gave the marketing focus and launchpad to get the campaign heard with added backing from the cleaning industry trade bodies Cleaning & Support Services Association (CSSA) and the Business Services Association (BSA). The overall winner of a contest in the UK was Joan Henderson of AMFM in Glasgow who was awarded a five-star luxury break as her prize. Congratulations to them all!

So now the excitement has settled down once more what are we all doing to really
support and recognise this army of workers? Will they spend the next 364 days until next year’s special day without a smile, without appreciation; go unnoticed? Yes, is probably the sad answer. However, saying ‘thank you’ has so much more added value.

According to psychologists, the words ‘thank you‘ are not just good manners. They have positive benefits to both the giver and the recipient. As children, being taught to say “thank you” was simply the polite thing to do but research in social psychology suggests that saying “thank you” goes beyond good manners. It also forms the building blocks to maintain social relationships. Studies suggest being grateful can improve wellbeing and physical health, can strengthen social relationships, produce positive emotional states and help us to cope with the stressful times in our lives.

The impact on the person who is being thanked is far reaching. It acts as a direct motivator, makes people feel good. So, turning the action around - when saying thank you to someone it’s a small moment of a pebble in the water but with deep ripples across the pond: a confirmation of a deep and wonderful truth, that we all depend on each other, that we are all joined.

Perhaps we start the culture change from within; acknowledge cleaning as a skill with worth and not just another cost centre to the bottom line. The challenge to change the stigma that goes with the label of being ‘only a cleaner’.


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