The Hidden Costs of Dirty Workplaces

The Hidden Costs of Dirty Workplaces

Maintaining cleanliness and hygiene in the workplace is of paramount importance to prevent the spread of illness and improve overall employee health and productivity, as studies have shown that dirty workplaces can result in the transmission of diseases and cause a range of health problems, leading to increased absenteeism and reduced work performance.

The Hidden Costs of Dirty Workplaces

The Problem With Dirty Workplaces

Dirty workplaces pose several problems:

  • They lead to an increase in illnesses among employees. For example, bacteria, viruses, and other germs in the workplace can cause diseases such as the common cold, flu, and other infections. This can result in increased absenteeism, reduced productivity, and higher healthcare costs. In fact, it's estimated that workplace illnesses cost facilities in the US over $225 billion each year.
  • They negatively impact indoor air quality, leading to respiratory problems such as asthma and allergies. Poor indoor air quality is also linked to decreased cognitive function and worker productivity.
  • They hurt employee morale and job satisfaction. Employees commonly report feeling more satisfied with their jobs and work environment when their workplace is clean and well-maintained.
  • They send a negative message to clients and visitors, which can impact a company's reputation and potentially lead to a loss of business.


Why Workplace Hygiene Matters

Workplace hygiene and cleanliness are essential for several reasons:

  • Maintaining a clean and hygienic workplace can help prevent the spread of infectious diseases among employees. This is particularly important in shared spaces such as restrooms, break rooms, and kitchens, where germs can quickly spread from person to person.
  • A clean workplace can improve indoor air quality, which can help prevent respiratory problems such as asthma and allergies. This is particularly important for employees, such as office workers, who spend a significant amount of time indoors.
  • A clean and well-maintained workplace can positively impact employee morale and job satisfaction. Employees are more likely to feel valued and respected when their workplace is clean and well-organized, increasing job satisfaction and productivity.
  • Maintaining a clean workplace can also help prevent workplace accidents and injuries. For example, spills or clutter on the floor can increase the risk of slips, trips, and falls, resulting in injuries and lost productivity.
  • A clean and well-maintained workplace can positively impact a company's reputation and potentially increase business. A clean workplace sends a positive message to clients and visitors, demonstrating that the company is professional and cares about its employees' and customers' health and well-being.


Causes of Workplace Dirt

There are several causes of workplace dirt, which can vary depending on the type of workplace.

  • Poor cleaning practices - If a workplace is not cleaned regularly or is not cleaned properly, dirt and debris can accumulate quickly. This can lead to the buildup of dust, dirt, and other contaminants, which can negatively impact indoor air quality and employee health.
  • Lack of organization - A disorganized workplace can also contribute to workplace dirt. When items are not stored properly or clutter accumulates, it can create an environment where dirt and debris can collect.
  • Poor ventilation - Inadequate ventilation can also contribute to workplace dirt. Without proper ventilation, dust, and other particles can circulate in the air and settle on surfaces, leading to a buildup of dirt and debris.
  • Employee behavior - Employee behavior can also contribute to workplace dirt. For example, if employees do not clean up after themselves in shared spaces such as break rooms or restrooms, it can contribute to workplace dirt.
  • Lack of maintenance - Finally, a lack of maintenance can also contribute to workplace dirt. If equipment or facilities are not properly maintained, they can become dirty or contribute to workplace dirt over time.


Preventing Dirt and Promoting Cleanliness in the Workplace

There are several steps that workplaces can take to prevent dirt and promote cleanliness.

  • Implement a regular cleaning schedule - One of the best ways to prevent workplace dirt is to implement a regular cleaning schedule. This schedule should include regular cleaning of all surfaces, floors, and shared spaces such as break rooms and restrooms.
  • Provide cleaning supplies - Another way to promote workplace cleanliness is to provide employees with the necessary cleaning supplies to clean up after themselves. This includes providing trash cans and encouraging employees to use them.
  • Organize shared spaces - Organizing shared spaces such as break rooms and restrooms can also promote cleanliness. This includes ensuring that these areas are well-ventilated and that surfaces are disinfected regularly.
  • Educate employees - Educating employees on the importance of workplace hygiene and cleanliness is also critical. This includes teaching employees how to clean up after themselves, store items properly, and identify potential sources of workplace dirt.
  • Hire a professional cleaning service - Hiring a professional cleaning service can help ensure a workplace stays clean and hygienic. These services can provide deep cleaning services beyond what employees can do independently.


The Role of Professional Cleaning Services

Professional cleaning services play an essential role in maintaining workplace cleanliness and hygiene. These services offer a range of cleaning options, from daily cleaning to deep cleaning, and can provide expertise in the most effective cleaning practices and equipment.

Some of the benefits of hiring a professional cleaning service include:

  • High-quality cleaning - Professional cleaning services have the equipment, tools, and expertise to provide a high-quality cleaning that may be difficult for employees to achieve independently. These services can clean hard-to-reach areas and thoroughly disinfect surfaces, reducing the risk of workplace illness.
  • Saves time and effort - Hiring a professional cleaning service can save time and effort for employees who would otherwise have to perform cleaning tasks themselves. This lets employees focus on their primary job responsibilities, improving overall productivity.
  • Customized cleaning options - Professional cleaning services can customize their cleaning services to meet the specific needs of a workplace. This includes determining the best schedule for cleaning, which areas need the most attention, and which cleaning products to use.
  • Improved employee morale - A clean workplace can improve employee morale and satisfaction, creating a more positive work environment. Employees are more likely to feel valued and respected when their workplace is clean and well-maintained.
  • Better first impressions - A clean workplace also creates a positive impression for visitors and clients. A clean and organized workplace can improve a company's image and reputation, increasing business and growth opportunities.


The Benefits of Outsourcing

Outsourcing cleaning services can provide several benefits to workplaces.

  • Cost-effective - Outsourcing cleaning services is often more cost-effective than hiring in-house cleaning staff. This is because cleaning companies can offer competitive pricing due to economies of scale and specialized expertise.
  • Consistent cleaning quality - Professional cleaning services have the experience and expertise to provide consistent cleaning quality. They have access to the latest equipment, cleaning products, and techniques to ensure that the workplace is always cleaned to a high standard.
  • Saves time and resources - Outsourcing cleaning services save time and resources for businesses. Instead of managing a cleaning staff, companies can focus on their core competencies and leave the cleaning to the professionals.
  • Customizable services - Professional cleaning services can be tailored to meet the specific needs of each workplace. This includes determining the best cleaning schedule, customizing the cleaning process to fit the layout of the workplace, and using specialized cleaning products and techniques to address specific cleaning challenges.
  • Reduced liability - Outsourcing cleaning services can help reduce liability for businesses. Professional cleaning companies are trained in safe and effective cleaning techniques, reducing the risk of workplace accidents and injuries.
  • Improved workplace health and safety - Professional cleaning services can help improve workplace health and safety by reducing the risk of workplace illness and injury. By using the latest cleaning techniques and products, cleaning services can help eliminate dirt and germs that can cause disease and improve indoor air quality.


References & Resources

  1. Kiefer, L. (2018, June 28). Office Dirt: It’s Catching And It’s Expensive. Retrieved from
  2. Anderson, M. (2016, August 8). How Much Do Workplace Illnesses Cost Facilities? Retrieved from
  3. Farrell, T. (2018, August 21). Our workplaces are filthy and it’s costing us all. The Conversation. Retrieved from
  4. Cappelli, M. G., & Vicentini, M. (2012). The effects of workplace cleaning intervention on moisture and microbial counts in an office building. Occupational Medicine & Health Affairs, 6(2), 64-70. Retrieved from
  5. Stephens, B., Azimi, P., Thorne, P. S., & Heederik, D. (2016). Agriculture, housing, and food service exposures among migrant and seasonal farmworkers. Journal of Agromedicine, 21(2), 87-96. doi: 10.1080/1059924X.2015.1126643. PMID: 27161057. PMCID: PMC4883643.
  6. Bloomfield, S. F., Exner, M., & Signorelli, C. (2011). Prevention of infectious diseases in households and other settings: Is there a role for hygiene routines?. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 366(1562), 2775-2785. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2010.0117. PMID: 21893534. PMCID: PMC3163553.
  7. International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB). (2001). Indoor air quality and climate (No. 259). CIBSE Applications Manual, UK. Retrieved from
  8. Haines, T., & Stankovic, J. (2011). The impact of environmental factors on workplace performance: A scoping study. Facilities, 29(3/4), 118-139. doi: 10.1108/09534811111175742.



A clean and hygienic workplace is essential for promoting the well-being of employees and preventing the spread of infectious diseases, which can negatively impact both individuals and organizations.

With the high cost of workplace illness and decreased productivity, it is crucial for facilities to prioritize regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure a safe and healthy work environment.

Outsourcing is a proven method for onboarding highly in-demand cleaning and disinfection services and experience for a fraction of the price of maintaining a similar service in-house.

If you would like more information regarding the effectiveness of high-performance infection prevention and control measures, or if you would like to schedule a free, no-obligation on-site assessment of your facility's custodial needs, contact us today for a free quote!

In Bakersfield, CA, call (661) 437-3253

In Fresno, CA, call (559) 206-1059

In Valencia, CA, or Santa Clarita, CA, call (661) 437-3253

In Palmdale, CA, or Lancaster, CA, call (661) 371-4756

Vanguard Cleaning Systems of the Southern Valley

Vanguard Cleaning Systems of the Southern Valley