Every year during the second full week of September, organizations around the world celebrate the hard-working people who help keep their buildings clean during International Housekeepers Week (IHW). Held this year on Sept. 11-17, the theme of this year’s IHW is “Thank a Cleaner” and encourages businesses to take a minute to appreciate the tireless efforts of cleaning professionals.
“The cleanliness of a building plays a critical role in the success of an organization,” said IEHA President Michael Patterson, MNA, MREH. “Studies show people are less likely to patronize a dirty business, and that building occupants suffer from the spread of illnesses and bacteria when cleaning duties aren’t performed regularly. IHW is a great opportunity to recognize the people who help maintain our indoor environments and say ‘thank you’ for their important work.”
From a mid-day luncheon to a full week of festivities, your IHW recognition events can come in any form. To help businesses celebrate, IEHA offers the following tips:
Hold your own Olympics. While Rio is over, you can host your own Olympic event with cleaning-related challenges, including a mop relays, toilet bowl tosses and bed-making races. Have cleaning personnel compete along with other departments and make it a fun event for everyone. A full list of potential events with challenge times are included in IEHA’s 2016 IHW Planning Guide, available here.
Recognize star performers during an awards ceremony. Do you have a cleaner who regularly goes above and beyond? Someone who always comes to work smiling? Use IHW as an opportunity to call out the cleaning personnel who make your building a special place to live or work. Present them with an award and consider offering a gift card or a paid afternoon off work as their prize.
Host a recognition breakfast or lunch. From a catered lunch to potlucks organized by other departments, organizing an event with food will make cleaners feel appreciated. Eating together helps establish a better sense of unity amongst various workers throughout the building, so the more people who can be involved with the effort the better.
Post signs or notices throughout the building. Many people won’t know that it’s housekeeping week, so placing posters, table tents and other signage around the building can help remind other staff members or visitors to the building to “thank a cleaner” this week. You might also include a reminder in a company newsletter or email blast.
Hold a “spirit” day. Give housekeeping staff an opportunity to break their typical regiment by holding special days throughout the week where they can dress in special attire. Example days might include an 50s day, hat day, country western day, etc. At the end of each shift, have staff members vote on the individual who did the best job representing the theme. You can recognize that person with a prize, such as a gift certificate to a local restaurant.
For a full list of ideas and tips to promote your IHW event, please download IEHA’s 2016 IHW Planning Guide available at https://www.ieha.org/ihw. IEHA members will receive exclusive access to a full marketing kit that includes poster files, press release templates, the official IHW logo and more.
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