How Cleaning Supports Mental Health At The Office
Mental health awareness in the workplace has increased dramatically in recent years, as behavioral research underscores the connection between mental wellbeing and overall productivity. This importance has only heightened following the COVID-19 global outbreak, which plunged businesses and their employees into cycles of uncertainty. These stressors have only amplified as people return to work in person.
As such, creating a supportive mental environment for employees is crucial for a company’s successful regrouping at the office. A clear cleaning and disinfection protocol has become an essential part of rebuilding a healthy work atmosphere. With this in mind, we break down why cleaning should be a major consideration for buttressing mental health at work.
Cleaning and disinfection protocols help ease anxieties about returning to work.
Multiple surveys show American employees remain significantly apprehensive about returning to work in person. Employees primarily cite concerns about their physical health and safety. One survey by consulting firm McKinsey & Company revealed 1 in 3 workers found that the return-to-office shift had negatively impacted their mental health.
Companies can help alleviate these anxieties by implementing cleaning programs based on CDC guidelines, and clearly outlining these efforts to employees. A visibly safe, hygienic environment not only provides protection from the virus, but also helps assuage pandemic-related apprehension that can affect mental wellbeing overall.
Visibly clean environments help improve the overall focus and mood of occupants.
Long before the pandemic, behavioral research consistently showed that unclean, messy work spaces decrease one’s mental health. Studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) show our brains respond well to cleanliness and order. In turn, visible grime and disorder become a visual distraction and disturbance, increasing our stress and anxiety levels while decreasing our ability to focus. This in turn impacts our decision making and ability to work with others. Creating a consistently clean, ordered work environment for employees can help foster productivity while discouraging burnout.
Indoor air quality also impacts mental health.
In recent years, research has revealed the surprising impact poor indoor air quality has on one’s physical health, particularly aggravating skin and respiratory issues. However, new evidence also suggests a link between poor air quality and mental health outcomes as well. Studies have found increases in air pollutants are connected to significant rises in depression and anxiety. Cleaning serves as an essential part of maintaining healthy indoor air quality, by removing harmful particulates from the environment. Green cleaning practices in particular prove additionally beneficial. Certified green products avoid using pollutants called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.