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All's well that ends well

15 June 2018

These days, I'm pleased to say, worker well-being is increasingly – if indirectly – making the headlines. For instance, some news stories you may have read recently on www.cleaning-matters.co.uk include Enhance Office Cleaning winning a Living Wage Champion Award. It's in recognition of their consistent effort to promote the benefits of paying the voluntary Living Wage to their clients and to others, and therefore champion fair pay within a traditionally low pay industry.  

Tess Lanning, director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: “Employers like Enhance are leading the way in placing dignity and respect at the heart of their organisation."

Elsewhere, the importance of recognising and rewarding cleaning operatives is gaining traction in the industry as The Hill Club Annual Awards returns in July. 

The Washroom Cleaner of the Year Awards, launched in 2017 as part of the Loo of the Year Awards, will also be back in December to recognise the dedicated staff that look after the facilities, whether that be individual washroom cleaners, in-house cleaning teams or external cleaning/FM contractors.

Awards such as these play an important role in making staff feel valued, and they are just some of initiatives taking place in the cleaning sector to improve staff well-being and maintain morale. 

Some contract cleaning companies are running their own internal awards; offering more practical initiatives such as a free counselling service and investing in the future of individuals through training and development; or offering discretionary perks such as organising social events or offering staff an extra day off on their birthday.

The increasing investment in worker well-being is not completely altruistic. More and more companies are realising there's a business case for it. A study and survey – published in May 2018 by the manufacturers’ organisation EEF and Westfield Health and carried out by the Institute of Employment Studies – showed that the overall mental health and well-being of employees is inextricably linked to motivation, engagement and performance in the workplace.

By contrast, the study highlights that poor well-being can increase costs, reduce motivation and employee engagement and take up management time dealing with issues such as absence and occupational health costs.

Workplace-related stress and mental health issues are becoming a bigger concern than ever: In 2016/17, Health & Safety Executive (HSE) statistics revealed that 12.5 million of the 31.2 million working days lost due to work-related ill health and non-fatal injuries were because of stress, anxiety and depression (40%). On average, each person suffering took 23.8 days off.

While there are lots of issues related to staff well-being, for those businesses who are only starting to address this and wish to create a better work environment, simply saying 'thank you' is a good place to start.