Insight 21 September 2022

The importance of hygiene in the workplace

How clean is your workplace? Who is responsible for keeping it clean? And have you considered the implications of an unsanitary workplace?

Clean workplaces are often taken for granted, but it is a vital part of health and safety in a modern business. It’s also vital for the health and wellbeing of your workforce, the image of your brand and it keeps your business running smoothly.

Covid-19 highlighted how important it is to maintain a clean workplace for the safety of employees

Why is hygiene so important in your workplace?

People have a right to be able to do their jobs without getting unnecessarily dirty or ill. Poor hygiene practices can result in employees having to take time off sick and could potentially lead to them developing other health issues that affect their personal and professional lives. An unhygienic workplace can lead to low staffing, reduced productivity and morale and, in some cases, health and safety claims being made against your business.

The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted just how important it is to maintain a clean workplace for the safety of employees. While surface cleaning remains important, providing clean ventilated airflow at work is also a must.

What does basic workplace hygiene look like?

At the most basic level, workplace environments should be kept clean, safe and sanitised for as long as is practically possible. This includes workspaces, desks, lifts, car parks, communal areas, food-related areas, toilets and bathrooms.

Areas that see high levels of social interaction (such as meetings rooms or canteens) or have multiple high-traffic touchpoints (including main entry points or elevators), should be cleaned regularly. ‘Deep cleans’, where a more thorough cleaning takes place, can be a vital part of a sanitisation regime.

Areas that have multiple high-traffic touchpoints should be cleaned regularly

Which areas of your workplace require special attention?

When considering any cleaning or hygiene regime, two workplace areas need particular attention:

Food handling areas and canteens

Areas where people eat, or where food is prepared, should be spotless. Bacteria can easily spread in these places, through food left out for long periods, or cross-contamination. Food-related illnesses can spread rapidly. In the case of canteens, there are also stringent food hygiene regulations which businesses are legally required to comply with.

Mitie has extensive expertise in food standards and, wherever we are responsible for food hygiene, we work based on the principles of HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) and COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health), in line with current legislation and cleaning and manufacturing requirements.

Toilets and restrooms

Toilets and bathrooms are probably the most obvious areas that need to be kept clean, but it’s surprising how often businesses fail in this matter. Dirty toilets can be a home for all sorts of germs that can easily be passed around the workplace if employees can’t properly wash and dry their hands. It’s also worth bearing in mind that unsanitary toilets can be a major irritation to staff and have a significant negative impact on the overall morale of the workforce.

At Mitie, we provide smart washroom management to determine when cleaning is needed and which specific facilities need attention. Our revolutionary PIR (Passive Infrared) sensor system records washroom usage and footfall throughout the day and triggers text messages to colleagues to direct their attention and resources to the areas that need it most.

Alongside modern technology such as sensors, robotic cleaners can tackle more routine tasks in communal spaces to give specialist cleaners more time to focus on other areas.

It’s important to remember that a safe and hygienic workplace means more than just the obvious surfaces you can see. Ceilings, floors, ventilation ducts, IT data centres and more, all need regular cleaning.

What are the benefits of maintaining good workplace hygiene?

Keeping a clean and tidy workplace day after day might seem like it’s just basic good practice or courtesy. But the reality is the benefits of a hygienic office can spread far and wide throughout a business, and beyond.

Effective workplace cleaning means employees are less likely to be ill and there is a lower risk of trip hazards

Healthier, happier employees

Employees working in a cleaner environment are far less likely to get ill. This not only improves their overall wellbeing, but also reduces the risk of illness or absence affecting your normal operations and productivity.

Prevents the spread of disease

Post-pandemic, employees are understandably more wary about illnesses they can pick up in the workplace. Keeping the workplace clean and safe minimises the risk to them and makes them feel reassured that they can work safely with an employer that takes their health seriously.

Mitie has partnered with Luxibel, a global provider of UV Disinfection Systems, to introduce cutting-edge air cleansing UV technology. The system is proven to eradicate 99.94% of airborne pathogens passing through the units and improve indoor air quality.

Lowers risk of workplace injury

Good workplace cleaning and hygiene means there are less likely to be spills or trip hazards which can cause employees or visitors to have an accident. This ensures that your employees are better protected from injury.

Cost savings

All of the above benefits can feed into significant cost savings, generated by increased productivity, reduced levels of illness and absence, and lower risk of paying out personal injury claims.

In 2021, during the pandemic, Mitie supported the safety and hygiene needs of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) staff who were working to keep the UK going. We recruited 2,500 extra full-time cleaners to undertake additional touchpoint cleaning and more regular deep cleans of the workplace. We also provided staff with 600,000 masks, 200,000 pairs of gloves and 500,000 bottles of sanitiser. Since the lifting of Covid restrictions, Mitie has extended both touchpoint and business as usual cleaning to 860 DWP public-facing buildings across the UK.

Enquire today

With a focus on excellence, innovation and assurance of quality, Mitie is one of the largest specialist cleaning providers in the UK, with more than 20,000 employees covering the country. Our Cleaning and Hygiene Centre of Excellence, in Birmingham, allows Mitie’s customers to test the latest cleaning products and innovations, and we even use virtual reality headsets for training.

Mitie has years of experience helping businesses in the public and private sector to maintain the very highest standards of workplace hygiene. We understand the importance of hygiene in the workplace and provide cleaning services and technologies that can help you operate more cleanly, safely and efficiently. This is just one part of our ‘Science of Service’ delivery.

Get in touch with our friendly team today to discuss your specific requirements.

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