Finally, you’ve arrived. You’ve moved your business out of your home and into your first professional office space. It’s a scary time. You’ve started to employ staff and the bills have started to pile in.

This is when you will start to consider which support services you really need, and which services can wait.

Good IT cover is obviously essential. You can’t afford for your whole business and all of its services to grind to a halt, but what about the other important services, like office cleaning?

At first, you might think that you and your staff will be able to handle keeping the office clean and tidy. You can always bring in a vacuum cleaner and duster, but will you remember to clean the toilets and wash the tea towels? Will you forget to clean your phones and keyboard? Will your staff leave the wastepaper baskets overflowing because they are too busy with their actual jobs? It’s easy to let the cleaning slide and with an office space, it’s not good enough to clean things when they start looking grubby.

Your space needs regular maintenance to ensure it’s always clean. You have health and safety responsibilities to your staff, and you want to present a clean image for your customers. On a practical level, this means you need some level of organisation if you’re planning on taking care of this yourself.

At the very least you’ll need to keep a simple chart detailing what jobs need doing, who is allocated to them, and to keep a record of what date they were last completed, so you know when they need doing again. Suddenly, it all seems a much bigger job, doesn’t it? And many small businesses find that arguments over cleaning duties affect staff morale. We all have different standards when it comes to cleaning, some will be more thorough than others, some may not take their turn, and some might resent having to do it at all when it’s not their job.

First impressions count and if you want to have the right impact on your customers and clients then keeping your office clean and tidy is essential. If your surroundings look sharp and professional, then this will be a strong indication of how you do business. If you look like you are running a smooth, efficient operation then this will help to reflect your company’s vision, values and ethos.

Also, you need to inspire your workforce. Expecting them to stop their work to tidy and clean the office will not be good for productivity and an added distraction away from what it is you’ve hired them to do.

Your office is also probably dirtier than you think. Bacteria thrive in warm, wet areas where bacteria levels can double every 15 minutes. Items around the sink such as sponges and dish cloths become hot beds for contamination. Think of those same sponges washing every cup in the office and the dish cloth spreading germs with every wipe! You can see how illness can spread in such an environment and staff sickness is bad news for small organisations. One person gets the flu and before you know it, your whole staff is absent, costing you time and money.

You often hear statistics stating that the toilet seat is cleaner than the kitchen sink and similar stats can be found around the office! There are 49 germs on every square inch of a toilet seat, but studies have shown there are 25,000 germs on every square inch of a phone! Other office ‘hot spots’ include keyboards, door handles, office kitchen sinks as well as the usual locations such as any surface in the bathroom. Considering staff sickness can cost companies dearly in terms of loss of productivity and sick pay, the knock-on effect on businesses is substantial especially when at least 60% of all time off work is related to dirty offices!

Professional commercial cleaning services are relatively affordable and should perhaps be thought of as an essential rather than an extravagance. The health and safety issues that arise when you let your office environment become untidy and unhygienic far outweigh the relatively small saving you will make avoiding the cost in the first place.

Increasingly managers and business owners are realising that outsourcing office cleaning services reduce the overall risk of the spread of germs and establishing systems, procedures and checklists ensures your business is in line with legislation and best practice. So, whether is down to protecting your staff morale or your organisation’s productivity, keeping your office ship shape is one expense you can’t afford to avoid.