As you walk into the facility as the new Facility Manager, you notice that the floors appear shiny, the offices neat, the windows clean, and there is a lingering floral scent in the air that is quite pleasant. At first, you think the housekeeping team you are about to lead is doing an excellent job.
However, why are many sick days reported in the facility?
Once you are in the Human Resources office for your meeting, you ask – What is one of the main concerns regarding the workforce currently? The company has been experiencing far more than average absenteeism; it seems every day, there are any number of employees out sick. Someone suggested it could be tied to the workplace even though it always looks clean. She says she is sure there is no connection as the cleaners do a terrific job, but she can’t find any other explanation.
A bell goes off. You ask to see the supply closet. One look at the vast array of traditional chemicals containing toxic ingredients, aerosol sprays, degreasers, and cleaners with high pH, you realize you need to have the team focused on Cleaning for Health and not just appearance.
While it is great to have a facility that looks clean, the reality is too often, it can be anything but. Don’t get me wrong. Cleaning—removing all visible dirt from a surface with some friction, whether with a sponge, mop, or toweling—is essential. But removing visible soil isn’t enough in today’s world of viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other potentially dangerous pathogens that spread like wildfire. Neither is assuming a facility is clean based on smell, especially when so many scents can offend customers and make others wonder what they may be hiding.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), during the 2017–18 flu season, employee absenteeism increased sharply to a level significantly higher than the average during the previous five seasons. And this is before the current Pandemic that we are experiencing
Meanwhile, research shows that proper cleaning with safer products reduces:
• The probability of catching a common cold or flu by 80 percent
• Virus contamination on surfaces by 62 percent
• Absenteeism by 46 percent.
These reductions sound even more impressive when one considers the data surrounding sick employees:
• Cold and flu symptoms reduce employee performance by as much as 8 percent.
• The average employee misses eight days of work annually out sick.
• Sick days account for a 54 percent decrease in productivity and a 39 percent decrease in sales and customer service.
• Sick days cost the U.S. economy upwards of $225.8 billion annually.
Of course, colds and the flu don’t only affect businesses. The average elementary school child catches more than eight colds or cases of the flu annually, and twenty-two million school days are lost each year to the common cold alone. Meanwhile, studies show that professional cleaning not only reduces the health risks of colds and the flu in schools but also improves cognitive function by 6 percent, math scores by 49 percent, and reading scores by 27 percent.
And least we think the only time a clean facility matters is during cold and flu season, consider, for example:
• Dust exposure affects workers’ cognitive functions by as much as 6 percent, causing eye, skin, and lung irritation.
• Poor indoor air quality contributes to breathing disorders, such as asthma; diminishes concentration and focus; causes headaches and fatigue, lowers productivity, and increases absenteeism.
• Extended exposure to mold can cause breathing problems, sickness, and even death in humans.
Making sure a facility is cleaned for the health of its inhabitants and visitors requires balance. It requires using the safest formulations for human health and the environment that can effectively do the job. It also means appropriately using the safest available disinfectants or sanitizers when necessary, such as citrus-based cleaning solutions, for the task at hand and following all label directions.
The data is there; it’s up to us to educate our customers on the need to clean for health first, then appearance. Keeping our environments and inhabitants safe and healthier creates a shine all its own.
ProNatural Brands cleaning products keep surfaces clean and our planet untouched. They are safe and effective. To learn more and how we can help you, click here.