Publications

Impact of cleanliness on the productivity of employees

Horrevorts, Mirte; Ophem, Johan Van; Terpstra, Paul

Summary

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.