Employees demand hygienic, smart workspaces

Friday, July 29, 2016

Employees are demanding more intelligent and hygienic workplaces, and are more open to connecting devices related to hygiene, states a new report from Tork.

After surveying 8,000 workers in major cities across the world, along with input from facility managers and office planning experts, the Office Trend Report 2016, reveals that 40 per cent of workers think that having an intelligent office can positively impact hygiene.

Hygiene, and the cleanliness and maintenance of restrooms continues to be a crucial factor in workplaces around the globe, especially as employees demand more from their work environment.

The study states that 4 out of 10 workers encounter empty soap and paper dispensers and restrooms that haven’t been properly cleaned. Poorly kept washrooms reflect negatively on cleaning staff and building management, leading to unsatisfied tenants and even tenant departures.

As offices become more connected, the report says there are opportunities for facility managers to take an active role in data consolidation to help companies interpret information and will lead to smarter, more hygienic workspaces or what Tork calls, a “hygientelligent office.”

According to Linda Ekener Mägi who works with strategic business development at global ICT company Ericsson, employees were asking for an app that helps find available toilets.

Technology that helps solve these issues in offices with thousands of employees, along with real-time data that details how full or empty restrooms dispensers are, can impact worker productivity. Such data access also saves time for sanitation and custodian staff.

Besides connectivity, more flexible layouts are also playing a role in “hygientelligent” offices. Many workplaces are now providing flexible environments that support different kinds of tasks. For flexible spaces to be efficient, Tork reveals that employees aren’t all the same, and neither is their hygiene.

In Toronto and Ottawa, almost two thirds of respondents inaccurately believe they are more hygienic than most people at their office. Globally, 56 per cent believe the same. Meanwhile, employees in all surveyed cities are also uncomfortable with everything, from using the same bathroom as people they do not know (42 per cent) to crumbs and stains from other employees’ food (62 per cent).

At the same time employees are demanding more sustainable and healthy environments.

“Ten years ago tenant companies didn’t care what was in the walls and how buildings were cleaned, today they demand to know,” said Robert Tamilio Jr, vice-president of sales and marketing at New York-based janitorial and washroom supplier Strauss Paper. “We supply the Freedom Tower. In order to get the contract we went through two layers of sustainability people before we could even talk about other dimensions of our products.”

Cleaning companies and service providers that offer a holistic approach to office hygiene and sustainability, will help meet the demands of increasingly conscious workers and offer their clients a competitive edge.

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