Imagine that you are an office manager overseeing a department of 25 employees and, one day, one of the employees complains to you about his co-worker's body odor.
How will you tackle these kinds of complaints in your office?
For a professional HR manager, that’s an important question to ask himself.
These types of hygiene issues happen a lot in overcrowded offices that don’t have a workplace policy in place. Without it, it's difficult to ask everybody to maintain the cleanliness in the office or to give a notice to an employee.
As a result, the working environment becomes unsatisfying and employees may start looking for a different job.
Things are different when having a workplace hygiene policy. Every employee would practice good personal hygiene as mentioned in the company guidelines. And the ones who don't, would be easy to give them notices referring them to the hygiene office rules.
The question is which rules should that policy include?
Why is hygiene important in the workplace
When employees follow personal hygiene rules they contribute to maintenance of a satisfying working environment.
A comfortable working environment is one of the two motivational factors that keep the employees satisfied at work according to Herzberg’s Two-Theory of Motivation.
In 1959, Frederick Herzberg, a behavioral scientist, proposed a two-factor theory or also known as the motivator-hygiene theory.
This motivator-hygiene theory states that some factors at work contribute to the general satisfaction of the employees while other work factors prevent the employee’s dissatisfaction at work.
According to Herzberg, the opposite of “Satisfaction” is “No satisfaction” and the opposite of “Dissatisfaction” is “No Dissatisfaction”.
Herzberg meant that job factors can be classified into two categories:
- Hygiene factors - The existence of these factors keeps the employee's dissatisfaction level low at work. For example, working in a safe and healthy environment among well-groomed coworkers is one of those hygiene factors that keeps the employee dissatisfaction level low.
- Motivational factors - The existence of these factors at work stimulates the employee's desire to achieve growth and high performance. For example, earning a better salary, promotion, status, etc.
The importance of cleanliness and personal hygiene in the workplace is also supported by showerstoyou.co.uk.
They conducted a survey that received 932 responses from office workers in a range of professions to find out the biggest personal hygiene issue they faced in their workplace.
The findings from the survey revealed that unpleasant body odor was the biggest hygiene issue employees face in their workplace at 70%.
Now when you are convinced that it's easier to approach an employee with hygiene issues when you can refer the problem to the company’s hygiene policy rather than on your subjective opinion.
So, what a company hygiene and cleanliness policy should include?
Elements of a workplace hygiene policy
An effective workplace hygiene policy should include hygiene, cleanliness, and appearance rules for all employees during their employment in the company.
1. Personal hygiene guidelines:
All employees are expected to follow proper hygiene in the workplace rules.
2. Dress code and uniform guidelines:
The staff that has regular in-person contact with the clients is required to wear appropriate business attire.
3. Grooming and facial hair guidelines:
4. Cleanliness guidelines
Over to you
Once everybody in the office follows the guidelines mentioned in the workplace hygiene policy, it’ll be much easier to handle personal hygiene issues in the office. Because, in this case, you can refer the personal hygiene issue of the employee to the company's hygiene rules.