By Carrie Schuster
It’s no secret that global trends such as urbanization and digitization are disrupting the way we live, work, and interact on a daily basis. With 82% of the North American population now living in urban areas¹, facilities must adapt to the changing lifestyles of employees, tenants, and visitors, who are spending more time in the places they work and less time at home. Of course, the idea of having the workplace function as a second home comes with the expectation that it will look nice, provide comfort, and be properly maintained and serviced.
But unfortunately, when it comes to keeping facilities in tip-top shape, workplace hygiene is often overlooked — which can negatively impact a business’ bottom line. Poor hygiene not only creates a negative first impression, it also impacts the way people connect with the world around them. In fact, seven out of 10 people believe a lack of hygiene limits their participation in urban life².
The key takeaway: people expect more from today’s facilities.
This begs the question: how can facility managers keep up with the changes in our society while also building and maintaining a positive reputation?
Connecting Hygiene And Well-being
To start, it’s important for facility managers to recognize that good workplace hygiene is integral to the well-being of people, business, and society. Having a clean, healthy facility can be the difference between a positive or negative review and a happy or unhappy employee.
In environments where cleanliness is a top priority such as hospitals or food processing centers, hygiene is critical, as it can be a matter of life or death. Companies that choose to value and prioritize their people’s well-being will be seen as a much more attractive employer — leading to a happier, more productive workforce.
Making A Good First Impression
First impressions always matter, and that’s no different when it comes to workplace hygiene. When shared spaces such as restrooms and conference rooms are kept clean and hygienic, it reflects positively on the facility and its tenants.
This is particularly important in office buildings as 70% of U.S. offices now boast open floor plans and flexible work environments³. While there are certainly many benefits of open floor plans such as increased collaboration, these workplaces often require a greater level of maintenance and hygiene care, which could take time away from other cleaning tasks. However, facilities that take the time to maintain hygiene levels will reap the benefits of employees who are less likely to take sick leave, happier, more productive, and proud of their work.
That’s where programs like Tork Clean Care can help. This is a hygiene program created by Tork, a leading global brand in workplace hygiene, designed to help facility managers and other building stakeholders turn hygiene into better business in the workplace.
Tork’s program was developed with both form and function in mind. The program offers a range of expertise and hygiene solutions for today’s facility managers to ensure employees, visitors, and tenants are all taken care of. It also provides customers with hygiene trends and insights to help make smarter decisions when it comes to improving hygiene in their facility.
For instance, of office workers who share a desk or equipment with others, more than 60% report concerns with hygiene. Armed with this data, facility managers can implement new processes and procedures that promote good hygiene, such as providing employees with hand sanitizer that is in easily visible locations and encouraging employees to clean shared equipment such as laptops and phones after using them.
Regular and thorough handwashing is another simple way for managers and employees alike to prevent the spread of germs across a facility. While most people understand regular hand washing is important, it is too often forgotten or performed incorrectly. But washing your hands can actually have a positive impact on how others around you feel and behave. Tork Clean Care offers statistics that help customers learn about the importance of hand washing and proposes easy solutions to minimize cross-contamination and reduce the spread of illnesses such as placing dispensers in optimal places throughout your facility. Healthy hand signage can also improve visitor perceptions and increase compliance. Or, with materials such as the Tork Healthy Hands poster builder, facility professionals can create custom signage or use ready-made templates to promote the importance of hand hygiene.
Regardless of whether your building is large or small, hygiene is one of the most important steps that can be taken to create and maintain a positive reputation year-round in the eyes of existing and potential customers and staff. By implementing modern, simple hygiene solutions that enhance performance and wellbeing, you can bolster your business’s reputation and create a safer, cleaner environment for all who walk through the doors.
Schuster is brand communications manager of sustainability and hygiene NA/EU for Essity, a global leader in hygiene and health, and the makers of the Tork brand of professional hygiene products. She consults with customers to partner and develop programs with the goal of achieving sustainability through zero waste, and circularity initiatives.