New research suggests that FM workers are more likely than others to blame colleagues for spreading illness, and also tend to take cleaning into their own hands to maintain hygiene levels.
The report, commissioned by London-based cleaning firm Cleanology, looked into behaviour around illness and work, and attitudes towards workplace hygiene. Interestingly, it found that 80% of FM workers believe sick colleagues are responsible for passing on germs, compared to just 66% of employees in other sectors. FM staff also appear to be more hygiene-conscious than their counterparts in other industries, with just over half being likely to carry sanitising spray at work – 16% more than across wider industry. The survey also found that almost two-thirds of workers feel under more pressure to go to work when they are ill, even though it impedes their productivity.
Dominic Ponniah, CEO at Cleanology, said the research showed an interesting perspective on cleanliness and ways in which pressure to attend, even when under the weather, has an impact on effective working. He said: “Our findings raise important questions about standard work practices and whether businesses would benefit from encouraging people to work from home. More than half of those surveyed had caught a cold from a colleague, while 62% agreed that they are not able to work to the best of their abilities when they are sick. Respondents felt guilty for coming to work coughing and sneezing, and 57% of FMs felt that they were likely to make mistakes. While only a quarter of people blamed a dirty workplace for catching an illness, two out of five carry cleaning wipes. For us, as cleaners, this is a telling insight into the standard of cleaning in many workplaces. For employers and FMs, it must also raise questions about the link between cleanliness in the workplace and productivity.”
The survey was conducted by Sapio Research, which questioned 1056 respondents. Of these, 51 were facilities managers. Gender differences were highlighted, with one third of men taking sick days, compared with just under a quarter of women. Men are also more likely to work from home when they are sick. 25% of male workers reported having to take matters into their own hands by cleaning the workplace toilet, compared with just 17% of women.