Impact of cleanliness on the productivity of employees

Mirte Horrevorts (Department of International Business and Communication, Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen – Campus Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands)
Johan Van Ophem (Department of Economics of Consumers and Households, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands)
Paul Terpstra (Consumer Technology Research, Wageningen, The Netherlands)

Facilities

ISSN: 0263-2772

Publication date: 2 July 2018

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether the cleanliness of a work environment has influence on the productivity of employees working in office environments of non-profit organizations in The Netherlands.

Design/methodology/approach

In the study, an online survey (including questions about the perceived cleanliness) and two objective cleanliness assessment methods (particle counts and surface cleanliness) are used. The data are collected using an online questionnaire to determine the workers’ perception (of productivity and cleanliness) and to measure the cleanliness (visual assessment of the surface cleanliness and measured [dust] particle counts in the ambient air) at five different non-profit organizations in The Netherlands.

Findings

It is found that a higher objective cleanliness correlates significantly with a higher perceived productivity of employees working in office environments of non-profit organizations in The Netherlands. A higher measured cleanliness also correlates significantly with a higher work satisfaction level of employees working in office environments. Finally, a significant correlation is found between the satisfaction of employees with their work as a whole and the perceived productivity of the employees; a higher satisfaction leads to a higher perceived productivity.

Research limitations/implications

The cleanliness is measured in five non-profit organizations, so it is not possible to draw any strong generalization. Future studies are needed to confirm or contradict the findings in this research.

Practical implications

The results highlight the aspects of the cleanliness in the office environment that influence the perceived productivity. This concerns the measured cleanliness. Employees evaluate their own productivity lower at a higher level of particle counts in the ambient air in the office environment and when more dirt and stain are found on the surface (lower surface cleanliness). In response to these findings, it is recommended to carry out regular cleaning activities in the office environment where the employees perform their work. Overall, to maintain or achieve maximum personal productivity, a clean office environment is important.

Originality/value

This research is the first to identify the relationship between perceived productivity and measured cleanliness of the office environment.

Keywords

Citation

Horrevorts, M., Van Ophem, J. and Terpstra, P. (2018), "Impact of cleanliness on the productivity of employees", Facilities, Vol. 36 No. 9/10, pp. 442-459. https://doi.org/10.1108/F-02-2017-0018

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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