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Workers in messy offices ‘up to 72% less productive’

Offices that cut corners on cleaning, or allow employees to work in messy, disorganised surroundings are far less productive than clean, well-ordered offices, a review by a major national cleaning company has found.

The national Contract Cleaning company says that people employed in offices with a low emphasis on a clean working environment spend less time in the workplace and don’t work as hard when they do sit at their desks.

In a survey of 100 offices in the UK, the Yorkshire-based company found that workplace productivity plummets where there are overflowing bins, dirty toilets and a lack of organisation.

Mark Hall, a spokesperson for ContractCleaning.co.uk said:

“Dirty, disorganised offices are the scourge of productivity. Some bosses need to take a good, hard look at their places of work and ask themselves why their staff are so miserable.”

ContractCleaning.co.uk asked over 1500 workers in 300 offices whether they thought their workplace was clean or dirty, and whether this contributed to their efficiency and enthusiasm for their jobs.

In offices where staff thought that their place of work cut corners on cleaning:

  • 72% said their surroundings made them less productive
  • 46% said they took longer lunch breaks and spent less time in the office
  • 25% said they took sick leave because the surroundings depressed them

Hall continued:

“It’s clear – dirty and disorganised offices hit businesses where it hurts the most. Productivity slips, absenteeism soars and that has a negative effect of profits.

“While we as a company has an obvious interest in the matter, cutting costs on cleaning is a sure-fire way to destroy staff morale and to wipe out productivity.”

On the other side of the coin, offices with regular cleaners, kitchen facilities, regularly serviced toilets and well-organised ways of working see both productivity and attendance soaring, ContractCleaning.co.uk found:

  • 65% said they looked forward to coming into a clean office in the morning
  • 49% thought that they worked harder as a result of a better organised office
  • 26% said they took shorter breaks or spent lunch breaks at their desk

ContractCleaning.co.uk spoke to office workers and managers who backed up the assertion that clean offices boost productivity and decrease absenteeism.

One staff member at an insurance company said:

“We didn’t like it when they introduced a ‘clean desk’ policy, but it’s really made me enjoy my job so much more. In the past, my desk was piled high with paper – now I can see the people I work with!”

Hall concluded:

“Clean offices are happy offices. Managers ought to realise that cleaning staff are an investment, not a cost. And effective cleaners bring a significant return.”

About Sarah OBeirne

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