Green cleaning services are a cost-effective solution for increasing the performance of workers and students.
Green Cleaning Services Improves Performance in Workers and Students
Sick students, teachers, and workers cost businesses and taxpayers billions of dollars per year in lost productivity and healthcare expenses.
Green cleaning eliminates toxic chemical exposure and reduces airborne dust and volatile organic compounds, which contribute to poor indoor air quality and personal health, thereby eliminating costly illness, absences, and presenteeism.
According to research published by Green Seal, schools that implemented green cleaning programs observed that;
- Total illnesses were reduced by 24%
- Doctor visits reduced by 34%
- Courses of antibiotics reduced by 24%, and;
- Days absent decreased by 46%
The advantages of implementing certified green cleaning services go beyond reducing the costs of absenteeism, as well as the financial waste of presenteeism, and extends to verifiable increases in worker and student productivity.
A recent study conducted by Professor Magali Delmas of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and Sanja Pekovic from the University Paris–Dauphine, which interviewed more than ten thousand employees--selected in equal numbers from 'green' and 'non-green' businesses--reported a significant deviation in worker performance, in favor of green companies.
According to the paper, the researchers discovered;
[...] a difference of one standard deviation, which corresponded to 16 percent higher-than-average labor productivity, in firms that voluntarily adopted environmental standards.
The higher-productivity effect stems from employees' appreciation for their workplace.
The certifications, especially ISO 14001, include educating employees about a firm's environmental commitment and require employees to work together across departments to reduce the organization's environmental impact.
This education and training helps increase employees' identification with their office, while interdepartmental cooperation increases employees' engagement.
Simple Steps to Green Your Classroom or Office to Increase Productivity
There are several cost-effective steps you can take today to improve the level of green in your classroom or office today.
- Improve Ventilation - Improving occupied space ventilation can improve performance by as much as 8%. This can be accomplished by eliminating sources of indoor air pollution, such as conventional cleaning products, as well as improving air flow, either through duct and filter maintenance or just opening a few doors and windows.
- Regulate the Thermostat - Maintaining an ideal temperature in occupied spaces also has a direct impact on performance. Studies have shown that if it's too cold, performance drops 4%, and 6% if it's too hot. A cost-effective method to address this is to arrange your office or classroom with the natural warmth of the sun through windows, allowing for deviations as the seasons change. Adding a few floor fans can also improve airflow and the perception of temperature.
- Increase Sunlight Exposure - Studies have found that, in addition to assisting with temperature regulation, a little more sun goes a long way toward long-term occupant performance. Statistically, students and workers who worked near a window, or regularly took a walk outside reported more happiness, as well as better and longer sleep--both significant factors in performance.
- Noise Control - Loud noises can reduce cognitive function by as much as 66%. Where noise elimination is not possible, facility and building managers are advised to organize offices and classrooms in a manner that reduces exposure. A cost-effective example would be scheduling cleaning services during low-productivity times or off-hours, and purchasing newer, quieter-running cleaning equipment.
- Open Office Space - Open office spaces are a trending design concept that allows students and employees freedom of choice in their working environment that, when implemented correctly, has been shown to increase creativity and productivity. However, open offices come with additional challenges that require the attention of a trained and certified green custodial program to facilitate.
References & Resources
- Turning Clean Into Green
- The business case for green cleaning in commercial real estate
- Environmental standards and labor productivity: Understanding the mechanisms that sustain sustainability
The implementation of green cleaning services in the workplace and classroom has been shown in repeated studies to facilitate an environment that reduces the numerous costs associated with illness, as well as marked increases in occupant productivity, satisfaction, and engagement.
Simple changes can be made with little to no additional financial investment that will improve student attendance, a primary indicator of educational success, as well as engaged worker performance, a significant issue for U.S. employers.
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