Vanguard Cleaning Systems
Janitorial Services for Design Centers
Green janitorial services enhance the qualities necessary for optimal worker cognitive function and creativity, making it the ideal service for local design studios.
Recent studies have pointed to a direct correlation between the cleanliness of our work spaces, creativity, cognitive function, and worker performance.
The primary influencing factor is indoor air quality, with a strong emphasis placed on office odors.
Conversely, conflicting studies exist pointing to a parallel in a lack of tidiness and improved cognition, but only to a point, as too much clutter can be distracting, resulting in losses in productivity, efficiency, and profits.
The premise here being that too much organization within a work space causes the mind to function in a linear fashion.
Working at a clean and prim desk may promote healthy eating, generosity, and conventionality, according to new research. But, the research also shows that a messy desk may confer its own benefits, promoting creative thinking and stimulating new ideas.
The challenge for design studio managers is to balance a creative workers tendencies towards clutter with a clean and healthy working environment, free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air.
Clutter in a creative design studio is inevitable.
According to research published by the University of Minnesota, that may not be a bad thing.
We found…[sic]…that you can get really valuable outcomes from being in a messy setting.
Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights…[sic]…[o]rderly environments, in contrast, encourage convention and playing it safe.
However, it is vital that your organization set hard limits on what can be considered creative clutter to avoid affecting efficiency, productivity, and profits.
According to the National Association of Professional Organizations, paper clutter is the No. 1 problem for most businesses. Studies show the average person wastes 4.3 hours per week searching for papers, which adds stress and frustration to the workplace while reducing concentration and creative thinking.
The Impact of Office Cleanliness on Creativity and Cognitive Function
Several recent studies have shown that office cleanliness has a direct impact on creativity and cognitive function.
A study published by the University of Florida found that;
[sic]…higher stimulation in the workplace can improve the cognitive performance of the employees, but at the same time, maintaining clean working environment is also very important to prevent possible decrease in brain function of the employees.
The study went on further to conclude;
[sic]…researchers found that men and women who worked in unclean working environments – that is, employees who were exposed to mold, solvents, and other chemicals at work – were more likely to experience cognitive decline than those not exposed to such work environments.
Specifically, employees who worked in dirty environments were found to have poorer episodic memory – the ability to remember events, such as times and places – and executive functioning – the ability to control and use higher-level cognitive skills.
Indoor Air Quality and Worker Performance
Indoor air quality is a byproduct of building design, the employedandnbsp;cleaning process, and products, as well as the dynamic variables, brought inside by workers and customers.
The issue is, what is referred to, as the off-gassing of VOCs, which are toxic chemicals released into the air by-products or processes we all encounter daily, including:
- Printers and photocopiers.
- Temperature and humidity levels.
- Moisture and dampness.
- Outdoor air pollution.
- Poorly maintained or performing HVAC systems.
- Building renovations.
- Cleaning solvents and chemicals, and;
- Air fresheners.
For More Information:
Poor ventilation leads to a buildup of VOCs in a confined space and, after varying levels of exposure, depending on the individual, has been shown to have a negative impact on physical and mental health in humans, as well as creativity and performance.
Poor IAQ contributes to health, productivity and performance problems, including asthma, respiratory disease, allergies, headaches, congestion, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, trouble concentrating, poor performance and absenteeism.
Additionally, office odors, whether perceived as foul or good, have been shown to negatively impact higher cognitive functions.
A 2011 study published by the National Institutes of Health found that;
[sic]…exposure to a malodor…[sic]…negatively affected performance on a complex task.
The malodor…[sic]…was shown to have negative effects on well-being, further illustrating the noxious characteristics of the stimuli. However, a number of other studies have shown that positively rated odors can exert negative (as well as positive) effects on cognition.
Green Cleaning Tips
- Adhere to the age old adage; clean should not have a smell.
- Replace all cleaning solvents and chemicals with EPA certified green cleaning products.
- Maintain a well-ventilated space with a HEPA filtered HVAC system.
- Be flexible with clutter, but firm on what crosses the line to unhealthy behavior and unproductive work environments.
- Use live plants to naturally absorb indoor air pollution in office spaces where temperature and ventilation cannot be controlled.
References and Resources
- Physical Order Produces Healthy Choices, Generosity, and Conventionality, Whereas Disorder Produces Creativity
- Can too much tidiness inhibit creativity?
- Effect of Physical Cleanliness and Cognitive Cleanliness on Moral Judgment
- Technical Overview of Volatile Organic Compounds
A cluttered work space for a busy creative team is far from unheard of.
A flexible janitorial services vendor is necessary to balance the acceptance of clutter as a byproduct of the creative process, with the need to maintain a clean work space.
It is vital that a business monitor levels of clutter to ensure they do not become a health hazard or point to potential issues with worker mental well being.
The general rule of thumb to follow regarding clutter and cleanliness is; if the employee or team cannot easily organize their work at the end of the day into a somewhat manageable stack, it may represent a health and safety issue and should be carefully observed.
The most important thing to remember is that indoor air quality is tied to cleanliness, which can be affected by the type and quality of chemicals used to sanitize an office building, so it is critical to ensure your buildings janitorial plan aligns with your businesses goals and the health of its workers.
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