Much has been said of how a professionally cleaned office removes germs and improves the physical health of workers. But new studies are showing that a clean office environment also improves employee mental health, with the benefits of boosting productivity, cutting mental healthcare costs, and even increasing happiness!

At Walz Enterprises, a commercial cleaning company in the Twin Cities, customers give us feedback that their employees notice after we’ve cleaned their offices and that mood and productivity increase.

Here’s the proof:

More focus and productivity. A clean office reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, helping employees to be more focused and productive. Conversely, cortisol is fired up by a messy, dirty or disorganized work environment. Higher cortisol levels actually increase anxiety and reduce focus and memory, thereby reducing work effectiveness and delaying work decisions. Over time, high cortisol can cause high blood pressure, osteoporosis and depression, all conspiring to reduce mental and physical health, increase employer medical costs and increase absences that drain productivity.

Lower stress levels. Cleaner offices decrease stress levels. Studies show dirt and clutter, whether on the employees’ desks or within the office environment, create stress, emotional exhaustion and prickly behaviors. Cluttered workplaces that haven’t been regularly cleaned and put in order cause neurotic interactions with coworkers, degrading productivity.

A happier mood. A cleaner office environment usually is associated with more space for movement and more comfort. You won’t be bumping into things that have been put away or surfaces that leave dust and dirt on your clothes. This freedom of movement is directly related to a positive mood and energetic body, which improves collaboration and mental acuteness.

“When our space is a mess, so are we.”              

 Harvard Business Review

 A relaxed brain. Studies cited in the Harvard Business Review compared the impact of working in clutter vs. organized spaces and found that too many visual stimuli (think: overflowing garbage cans, dirty sinks in the restrooms and dirty carpets and windows) makes it hard for the brain to focus and process information. The overload can be stressful for some people. Worker brains in these situations become like computer desktops with too many files open at the same time. Processing capacity slows!

No doubt about it, a clean office improves mental health. We’ve all experienced the feeling of coming into a clean space that is orderly and smells fresh. We take a deep breath and feel immediately relaxed. Mental health and a positive attitude can be the difference between a workforce that barely gets things done and a workforce that manages to excel…and feels great about being at work.