The Interpersonal Cost Of Overlooking Workplace HygieneSurbhi Dixit
How Workplace Hygiene Can Make or Break Employee Health
Hygiene, in simple terms, is the process of incorporating multiple actions into one’s lifestyle to keep oneself clean. Of course, keeping the environment clean is a priority. However, before you focus on your surroundings, you must take care of personal hygiene.
Why is hygiene important? And why do organizations advocate for personal and workplace hygiene?
Being hygienic and clean protects a person from falling sick due infections from bacterial and fungal infections. In addition, being hygienic boosts your immune system and makes you fall ill less often. It may also prevent you from spreading diseases to others.
After all, in the current scenarios, having a poor immune system and being unhygienic both contribute to the severity of illness and even death.
In addition to personal hygiene, it is critical to observe cleanliness at one’s workplace as well. In an organization, people work in close quarters. If one person gets ill and spreads it to others due to an unhygienic environment, it could impact its stability.
After all, workplace hygiene is an extension of personal hygiene. So, in addition to corporate legislations that mention cleanliness, if every person cleans up after themselves, it could lead to a cleaner, more hygienic workplace.
How To Practice Personal And Workplace Hygiene
The risk of illness in a workplace comes from multiple places – overflowing garbage bins, unclean bathrooms, unwashed dishes in the sink, and sharing equipment with other office-goers.
Practicing personal hygiene and keeping oneself clean is not hard. However, a few simple steps, if followed regularly, become an irreplaceable, healthy habit.
It is unnecessary to follow a strict, military-like regimen to be clean, but a few minor changes to personal habits should be enough.
A few hygienic practices that can be followed commonly for ensuring personal as well as workplace hygiene are given below:
- Keeping hands clean always.
- Taking a bath every day and wearing clean clothes to work.
- Washing hands immediately after using the washroom.
- Use paper towels rather than cloth towels to dry your hands.
- After using the bathroom, at the desk, sanitize your hands.
- Wiping down your desk and work area before you start working and leave work for the day.
- Eating away from the desk. If eating at the desk, cleaning up after it’s done.
- Washing up your used cups and plates immediately.
- Covering your mouth and nose while burping, coughing, or sneezing
- Ensure that you follow the company’s policies regarding cleanliness in the workspace.
If any employee feels there is a disconnect in the hygiene policies of the organization, they can approach the management to fill in the gap.
Or, if there are some financial constraints in workers unable to afford hygiene products, they can approach their office manager to help them out.
Effects Of An Unhygienic Workplace On Employees And Interpersonal Relation
The absence of good hygiene negatively affects your work environment, both in biological and social terms. In addition, bad hygiene can lead to the spread of diseases like food poisoning and diarrhea. In fact, according to World Health Organization (WHO), diarrhea-related illnesses contribute largely to hygiene-related deaths. All this in turn affects organizational effectiveness and productivity owing to employees not showing up for work.
Additionally, poor cleanliness and hygiene at the workplace can cause a significant dent in employee satisfaction and potentially sabotage interpersonal relationships. So, what is the effect of maintaining a dirty workplace on employees?
1. Excess Leaves
Every organization allows its employees a certain amount of days as leave. Out of this, a good number is kept aside for days when an employee is sick. However, if employees fall ill frequently due to bad personal hygiene and following dirty practices, it impacts their work with the company.
If all employees keep extending their leaves more than granted, the operations in the organization will stall, and it could lead to massive losses for the company. Ultimately this would lead to the company letting go of these employees or cutting their salaries. Either way, excessive leaves are a loss for the company as well as the employees.
2. Poor Employee Retention and Turnover
Employee Retention is the capability of any organization to retain its employees. On the other hand, employee turnover is the percentage of employees who leave an organization for multiple reasons.
Besides monetary reasons and a lack of proper career paths, corporate hygiene plays a role in how many employees leave a company. If the workplace is dirty and not allowing people to work, more employees would prefer to move to other companies.
If employees tend to fall sick in the workplace, others will deem it an unclean place and leave. The organization needs to
3. Dipping Company Goodwill
No matter how reputed a company is, if the conditions and hygiene are not conducive to giving employees comfortable working conditions, they will not be happy.
Goodwill is the magical thing that helps you build good business relationships for long-term success. Goodwill is only between two organizations but also between one company and its personnel. One of the most remarkable ways to build a good relationship with employees is by ensuring that the amenities provided for them are clean and hygienic. If these amenities like washrooms, canteen, and kitchen services are unclean, it may be detrimental to their health.
Even if the compensation is top-notch, employees will not have good feelings for the company. Therefore, they would prefer to leave rather than stay in unhygienic conditions.
Employees are one of the pillars of an organization that help it succeed. Therefore, hygiene at a workplace directly impacts the productivity of any organization. Additionally, continued bad hygiene in personal and corporate life could lead to severe illness and even death.
To safeguard the health of employees, workplace hygiene must be maintained. Companies need to prioritize employees’ health and not leave it as an afterthought or unimportant.