Millions of Americans arrive at their workplace and begin their wok without giving a single thought to the individuals who just hours before cleaned the space. A clean workplace has become an expectation—a basic that’s a must for health and safety reasons, as well as good work practice. The fact that the average office desk has 100-times more bacteria than a kitchen table and 400-times more than the toilet seat down the hall is alarming; the added truth that 85% of us eat our lunch on that surface is even more so.2

Too often, the men and women responsible for keeping offices, building lobbies, classrooms, hotel spaces and more are invisible. It’s only when something goes awry do we actually take notice.

It’s an essential role that goes by many names—cleaner, maintenance worker, custodian, porter. And it’s a role that goes well beyond cleaning. The value of the work these individuals perform between your work hours extends well beyond a tidy work-space as the short and long-term costs of an unclean workplace can be substantial:

Improved Employee Outlook. One recent study indicated that four out of five professionals said they are more productive in a clean office environment.

Fewer Sick Days with Improved Germ Prevention. Office telephones have the highest levels of germs, followed by desks, water fountain handles, microwave door handles and computer keyboards. When desks are not cleaned with disinfecting wipes, bacteria levels increased between 19 – 31% percent each day. Toilet seats had the lowest levels of bacteria.3 With employees calling in sick an average of 4.9 days annually; imagine how a clean office environment, including germ- free surfaces, could help reduce that rate.

Workplace Safety. Janitorial services are key to maintaining a safe work-space. Approximately 76,000 office workers nationwide suffer disabling injuries every year while at work; the most frequent type of incident is a fall, typically due to someone standing on an unstable surface or slipping on wet floors—both easily avoided, one with better judgment, the other with more rigorous cleaning protocols.

Boost Productivity. The bottom line? A focused and sustained cleaning program can help your team mitigate costly missteps. What are the potential dividends an investment in proper cleaning offers? As a business leader, have you assessed and considered the hidden, but very real costs, of a poor cleaning program? The answer is simple: Invest in a janitor and cleaning service, the invisible, unsung hero of your work-space.

As you review your current service, consider viewing the provider not as a vendor but as a trusted partner in your business. Commercial cleaning is not a commodity; it is a critical component for every organization and workplace. Cleaning doesn’t just make the space look good; when done right, it makes your employees feel good (both mentally and physically), which makes your organization a better and safer place to work.

Ensuring the cleaning team succeeds requires that they’re fully equipped with the right training, tools and supplies. Review this cleaning solutions checklist to evaluate your current cleaning solution or as you explore new options:

  • Can the team grow as your organization grows? Is this true both in size and scope of work?
  • As you expand your office square footage and employee count, can the team deliver?
  • If you add new equipment, could they tackle custom cleaning protocols?
  • Are they specially trained and trusted to keep complex machinery or sensitive spaces?
  • What is their track record with their current clients—are the relationships long-lasting or brief?
  • Loyalty and longevity matters as retraining teams and establishing expectations can be time- consuming.
  • How does the team communicate with each other? With you? Lapses in communications— especially a confirmation that the issue has been resolved successfully—can be frustrating.

Tomorrow, when you walk by a member of your cleaning team, take a moment to thank them. What they do is so much more than cleaning a desktop or emptying the trash. These individuals play a part in your team’s productivity, health and even their morale. Don’t under estimate this important asset.