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COVID-19 and Managers: The Opportunity to Be the Leader Employees Are Looking For

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For many business managers in major financial hubs, the demand for meeting goals and targets leaves little room for employee well-being and health initiatives. However,  the current pandemic has resulted in a newfound emphasis on workplace hygiene, new expectations - and opportunities have appeared for office managers, supervisors and anyone with a role involving safeguarding and overseeing an employee's well-being. 

Emerging studies have given insights into how unaddressed office IT equipment can cause serious implications for employees’ physical and mental health. Those in management positions now have a chance to demonstrate impactful leadership by integrating employee health and hygiene solutions into their strategy that make you stand out.

How an Unkempt Desk Can Affect Your Worker’s Health

The Consequences of a Poorly Maintained Office & IT Equipment

Turning a blind eye to the hygiene and maintenance of your IT and electronic office equipment can have a negative effect for both your employees and your business. Below are some proven effects an unsanitary workplace can have on your company:

Lowered Productivity

It should come as no surprise that poor workplace conditions can result in lowered productivity. A survey covering over 1,500 employees revealed that 72% of respondents said an unclean office made them less productive, and 46% said that a cluttered unsanitary office would cause them to deliberately spend less time at the office. Subsequently, you can expect the effects of lowered productivity to hurt your bottom line. Lost productivity from an unkempt workplace can cost businesses as much as $2.5 million a year.

Reduced Job Satisfaction

Research suggests a direct link between job satisfaction and workplace cleanliness, highlighting the need for a sanitary and hygienic office. Another study conducted by Harvard Business Review highlighted that an untidy workplace could negatively influence our cognitions, emotions and behaviour, directly affecting our workplace relationships, decision-making abilities and stress levels. No employee will feel great working on a dusty, smudged desktop or an oily keyboard.

Higher Rates of Absenteeism

When managers don’t maintain office cleanliness and hygiene, they are facilitating an environment where harmful bacteria can easily circulate around the office. Add the growing culture of presenteeism (working at the office while you’re still sick) into the mix, and managers might be inadvertently worsening absenteeism rates under their own supervision by allowing illnesses to spread so freely. If not addressed, this can eventually affect a business’s operations due to a consistent drop in workforce.

However, illnesses aren’t the only source of absenteeism. There is mounting evidence that depressing and cluttered surroundings are also a major contributor to absenteeism. A business wellness survey of 1,500 workers across 300 offices found that 25% of employees took sick leave because the surroundings depressed them.  As a manager, it is an expectation that you take charge in creating a welcoming and enjoyable working environment. Failing to do so won’t only hurt your absenteeism rate. It will damage your overall output and ultimately your coworkers’ trust in your capabilities as a manager.

How the Role of an Office Manager Has Shifted in Light of the Global Pandemic


A key component of acting as a manager is to meet the needs and expectations of your employees. With the pandemic showing no near end in sight, employees have become increasingly concerned about safety in the workplace. Figures show that 71% of employees expect their employer to provide extra cleaning rounds to ensure hygiene. While cleaning practises weren’t a major priority for employees pre-Covid, 66% of U.S. workers find it extremely important now. These stats demonstrate that expectations for office hygiene have shifted. It is up to managers to address those expectations.

Best Practises to Protect your Staff’s Health

Give out Hygiene Care Packages

Show your understanding of employee needs and concerns by providing the necessary resources to protect themselves. Such packages could contain hand sanitisers, specialist tech wipes, elevator pushers and more. Empowering your employees to take action if they don’t want to continue using a dirty, stained laptop can benefit their sense of autonomy in their surroundings while also protecting their physical well-being. Be vocal about it and make sure the entire office knows you’re making an effort.

Hire Cleaning Services

Cleaning services are an effective way to ensure hygiene and cleanliness standards are maintained in the office. If you haven’t already, identify which type of cleaning service suits your company's needs and work from there. If you already have cleaning services, examine if they’re meeting your organisation’s needs. Many traditional cleaning companies may keep up the appearance of a clean office, but if they’re failing to remove harmful bacteria and aren’t using specialist cleaning equipment, they might not be doing enough for your employees’ health. Seek out services that specialise in eliminating viruses and germs in the workplace and let your employees know their health is being prioritised.

Set Up Office Hygiene Guidelines

Demonstrate your management abilities by setting up office hygiene guidelines that everybody wants to adhere to and follow. Be proactive and show your commitment and ableness in organising and implementing a strategy that meets the health needs of your employees.

The Bottom Line

The research is undeniably clear, office cleanliness and hygiene is crucial for safeguarding employees' mental and physical health. It's not only important for your staff but for your position as a manager and how you're perceived. The pandemic has only further accentuated this, creating new expectations and challenges for managers. However, with challenge comes opportunity. 

By implementing strategies to cater to a hygiene-conscious workforce, you’re not only prioritising and making a statement about addressing their well-being but improving productivity and effectively the bottom line. Have your staff look forward to coming to work. Start fresh every day, get the most out of your team by making them feel valued by valuing their workspace. Take pride in how your office looks, smells and feels with the mindset that you’re also protecting your staff.

A cleaner cleans office IT equipment