Hygiene key to a healthy environment

11th of April 2023 Article by John Griep
Hygiene key to a healthy environment

Dutch correspondent John Griep at VSR looks ahead to the themes of its Hygiene Forum this May.

Cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression are diseases and disorders related to the indoor environment. It therefore comes as no surprise the decisive role of a healthy and comfortable indoor environment as a means of ensuring quality of life is now receiving greater recognition.

VSR wants to make sure  more attention is paid to the importance of a healthy indoor environment and has therefore made it the main theme of the Hygiene Forum on May 17 at RAI Amsterdam.

Every two years since 2015, VSR has organised the Hygiene Forum, an event and knowledge platform on cleanliness and hygiene. The event is organised in collaboration with two partners - also trade associations from the professional cleaning industry. This year, the theme is ‘A Healthy Organisation Begins with Good Hygiene’. The keynote speaker will be Prof. Dr Philomena Bluyssen. She has been working to advance our knowledge of the indoor environment for more than 20 years.

Factors Bluyssen says affect the indoor environment and how people experience it are light, sound, air and thermal factors (heat, cold and moisture). These conditions have an effect by invoking positive or negative feelings in an organisation’s employees, thereby also influencing their productivity. On a long-term basis poor conditions can even cause (chronic) stress. Just imagine what it would be like if there was continuous noise or smell, compared to a workspace that offers pleasant acoustics and plenty of natural light and views.

According to the professor, improving the indoor environment involves more than simply preventing stimuli that are detrimental to our health. She also examines improvements based on a user’s needs and requirements as a means of creating a building that is not only healthy, but comfortable too.

We have also been carrying out research on employee productivity and satisfaction for some time, though our own research was solely carried out from the perspective of cleaning quality (about which Bluyssen applies a much broader perspective). Research carried out by VSR in 2016 showed employees feel more productive if the level of cleanliness in the office is higher. That research was carried out by Mirte Horrevorts as part of her final project leading to her master’s degree in Management, Economics and Consumer Studies. Her research demonstrated a high standard of cleaning has a positive impact on the core process of organisations.

Not only does the standard of cleaning impact productivity, it also contributes towards the overall feeling of satisfaction amongst employees. Employees are more satisfied when there is less dirt in the office. And according to that same research, that in turn also increases productivity. The importance of a healthy indoor environment, in which effective cleaning plays a positive role, is an ongoing concern for both building users and cleaning contractors.

Would you like to be kept up to date? We will produce a comprehensive report of the Hygiene Forum and also publish a concise version of that report here in ECJ. In that report, you will be able to read information about which factors have precisely what effect and about the contribution that building owners, architects and cleaning professionals can make towards an improved indoor environment.

For more information about the event visit www.hygieneforum.nl

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