If your office has an open floor plan, this blog is for you. Keep reading to find out why open floor plans are problematic for your employees' health and what steps you can take to improve office health, hygiene and happiness.
What Are the Downsides of Open Floor Plans?
As discussed above, many companies invest in changes to open floor plans because they want employees to develop a sense of community. With an open floor plan, it's hypothetically much easier for employees to talk, bounce ideas off one another and develop a sense of kinship with their co-workers.
However, open floor plans typically minimise spaces where employees can be alone. Instead, employees share long rows of desks or tables with no dividers between individuals, and apart from rooms like the washroom, the office isn't segmented — workspaces bleed into break rooms and cafeterias.
Floor plans like these can take significant tolls on certain employees' mental health, especially employees like copywriters, designers or developers who generally need solitude and relative silence to work. For these employees, an open floor plan encourages resentment and discouragement at work rather than cheerful collaboration.
Open floor plans also reduce privacy, which bothers some employees more than others. But one aspect of open floor plans impacts every employee, regardless of job title or personality: the easier spread of germs, dust and mould.
Without divisions between employees or rooms, germs circulate throughout the office easily. Employees who come to work while ill can accidentally sneeze or cough on their neighbours, who aren't shielded by cubicles. Since many people share one larger space instead of smaller segmented spaces, more people circulate more germs at any given moment than in closed floor plans.
It makes sense, then, that many companies with open floor plans report an increase in employee sick days. Dust and mould also circulate easier in an open space, which can cause employees with allergies and asthma in particular to take more sick days as well.
How Can You Keep Your Open-Plan Office Clean?
All managers and executives need to keep their offices clean, but those with open floor plans in particular need to focus on cleanliness — not just to improve productivity by minimising sick days, but also to improve employee happiness at work. Follow these tips to ensure your open floor plan works for you, not against you:
- Schedule more frequent professional cleanings. Professionals can dust, clean your carpets and perform hygienic cleanings that make your workplace safer and healthier for employees.
- Encourage ill employees to stay home. If necessary, change your sick leave policy or work-from-home policy to accommodate ill employees.
- Reduce clutter. Help employees tidy the office to prevent the growth of mould and accumulation of dust.
- Accommodate privacy needs. Provide private, secluded spaces where employees can work undisturbed to promote productivity and better mental health.
Although these four steps seem fairly basic, they're crucial to protecting and promoting your employees' health. If you haven't already considered the above options, schedule a meeting to start implementing them as soon as possible.
Reach Out for a Professional Cleaning
Need help starting out? Get in touch with a professional cleaning service in your area to schedule an office scouring. If you live and work in Brisbane, Melbourne and Gold Coast, contact Comclean. We're here to ensure your office stays clean and professional — and that your employees are better able to stay healthy and, as a result, satisfied with their jobs.