Commercial cleaning services are a vital component of successful creative office spaces.
Green Commercial Cleaning Services for Healthier Creative Office Space Environments
The creative industry is an emerging and essential part of the Minneapolis economy.
The Minneapolis Creative Vitality Index (CVI) for 2015 reported that the creative sector added $4.8 Billion to the local economy, contributing to its 6th in the nation CVI ranking, and outpacing the rest of the U.S. by a factor of 3.6 to 1.
Approximately 26% of Minnesota's creative workforce resides in Minneapolis, climbing to 75% with the inclusion of the greater Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington metropolis.
This has led to an increase in the number of creative office spaces throughout the area, as well as available services and amenities, including;
- Fitness centers.
- Bicycle and other storage facilities.
- Communal kitchens and lunches.
- Open and semi-private work areas.
- Conference rooms, and;
- Access to shared printers and photocopiers.
Often, creative offices are renovated historical buildings, resplendent with every modern tech and business necessity.
From an entrepreneurial perspective, when combined with unique networking opportunities, the advantages creative offices confer can be difficult to ignore.
However, the health implications associated with open offices and common amenities should be of some concern, particularly for small, independent business owners who cannot afford to get sick.
Improving Creativity With Green Commercial Cleaning
Fortunately, creative workspaces are typically new or, as mentioned, modernized historical buildings and absent the dangers associated with the toxic chemicals used in their original construction, as well as focusing on designs geared toward a healthy work environment, e.g., lots of sunlight and a comfortable flow of clean air.
The challenge open floor plans and communal work environments face is the very thing that makes them so appealing.
For example, where communal lunches are an opportune time and place to advance ideas and projects, they are also prime breeding grounds for the very rapid spread of germs and bacteria.
The correlation between open office plans and employee sick days was examined, and the findings were published in 2011 by the National Institutes of Health.
Sickness absence was significantly related to having a greater number of occupants in the office when adjusting for confounders.
Compared to cellular offices, occupants in 2-person offices had 50% more days of sickness absence, occupants in 3-6-person offices had 36% more days of sickness absence, and occupants in open-plan offices (>6 persons) had 62% more days of sickness absence.
Occupants sharing an office and occupants in open-plan offices (>6 occupants) had significantly more days of sickness absence than occupants in cellular offices.
Obviously, those numbers do not lend well toward a workplace focused on engaged creativity.
Additionally, the use of conventional commercial cleaning practices that waste energy and water, as well as dump toxic chemicals into the water and indoor air supply, run contrary to the core principles of sustainability and efficiency in open/creative office designs.
Communal Offices and Your Health
One of the most cited issues with open office designs is the lack of privacy, which contributes to ongoing distraction and increased stress, which contributes to mental and physical illness.
Combine a high-stress working environment with a less than adequately cleaned communal space, especially where people eat, and you have a perfect recipe for an outbreak, especially during cold and flu season.
For More Information:
- The New Yorker - The Open-Office Trap
- The Huffington Post - To Work, Open Offices Need To Be A Little Less Open
Where and Why Germs Spread in Your Office
Too many people in the U.S. go to work sick.
Cited reasons for this behavior include;
- Employer expectation.
- Fear fellow employees could not adequately perform their job function, and;
- No employer paid sick leave plan.
While Minneapolis's recently proposed law to require most employers to provide sick leave benefits, that law does not cover independent contractors, which is an issue for typical creative office users, who are usually self-employed.
This presents an issue when the need to go to the office to complete a project or meet a client outweighs thousands of years of common sense that tells us to stay home and rest; more specifically, stay home and avoid passing your contagion onto someone else.
One contagious person coming into the office can infect over half the staff within a few hours.
The culprit is not uncovered coughs and sneezes, but our hands, and every surface we touch throughout the day.
A 2012 study conducted by University of Arizona researcher Dr. Charles Gerba placed a sample of a microbe, safe to humans, but otherwise resembling norovirus behavior, then measured the results after a period of four hours.
The team discovered that over half the common high-touch surfaces were contaminated, as well as over half the staff participating in the study.
It turns out those findings are more troubling for open office workers than conventional office layouts.
Kelly Reynolds, Associate Professor of Public Health and Co-Principal Investigator of the research stated;
We were actually quite surprised by how effectively everything spread...[sic]...I didn’t expect to find it as much as I did. And that was in an office environment where people work primarily in isolated spaces...[sic]. There weren't a lot of people roaming around...[sic]. They basically go in their offices, sit in their chairs and are on their computers. They may go to the bathroom, and they have a common kitchen area they share and a photocopy machine, but that's about it.
Employee Wellbeing and Engagement
It is nearly impossible to experience chronic illness due to factors in the workplace and maintain any active engagement, which will naturally affect a businesses output and success rate.
Conversely, the benefits to organizations who focus on employee health and wellbeing have been well documented.
[sic]...behaviors that increase the frequency of positive emotions lead to increasing clarity of expecattions, the understanding and use of resources that is congruent with company goals, individual fulfillment in work, a bonding of individuals through a sense of caring, ownership for the altruistic and tangible impact of the company, and learning that is in line with this shared mission. In the long run, this is what is good for the employee and the company.
These findings underscore the organization's responsibility to itself to ensure the health and welfare of its employees.
Looks Good or Actually Clean?
Where conventional commercial cleaning practices fail to meet necessary standards, especially in creative working environments, is its contribution to health related issues, waste, and pollution; the complete opposite of the mentality of creative office workers.
Studies have shown that the adoption of microfiber cleaning materials;
- Reduces water use.
- Eliminates the need to use toxic cleaning chemicals as emulsifiers.
- Reduces energy consumption; microfiber does not require the use of hot water.
- Eliminates contaminants added to the water and air supply.
Green alternative cleaning products also avoid the potential for adverse/allergic reactions in sensitive groups, especially those with preexisting respiratory issues.
The absence of chemical cleaning odors, especially from carpet and upholstery cleaning, will eliminate the need to ventilate the space for long periods of time after a deep cleaning session; strongly favoring all-hours-of-the-day work environments.
- Sherman Group
- MN Artists - The Just-Right Work Space
- MinneapolisMN.gov - Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy
- CBRE - Minnesota Tech Trends
With a pivot towards flexible privacy options, creative offices with open floor plans may actually be the office of the future.
However, studies have shown that illness-related absenteeism is directly related to the number of workers sharing a confined space.
Work related illnesses contribute significantly to worker burnout, as well as reduced engagement and performance.
Smart businesses know that to succeed in today's modern business environment, they need the best people at their best, which means investing in their health and wellbeing.
To meet the diverse needs of creative office workers, a smart move is to employ professional green commercial cleaning services to protect employee and tenant health, while increasing profit margins.
Discover the Vanguard Cleaning Systems Difference.
In Minneapolis / St. Paul Minnesota – (651) 379-4000
In Rochester Minnesota – (507) 218-3016