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Office Cleaning Pet Peeves

We’ve asked Filipino office workers what makes them tick when it comes to the cleanliness in their office. We might also be guilty of doing some of these in the office as some are as simple as leaving a dirty mug can already offend your colleague.  Check out the results below and see if you belong to the general group of Filipinos who love and hate doing these chores.

We sent out a survey in January 2023 and collected 142 responses over a period of 30 days. 71.4% of the respondents were women, while 28.6% of them were men. Majority of the respondents were between the age group of 36-45 years old (57.1%).

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Office Cleaning Pet Peeves

  • Stinky toilets / washroom
  • Weird food smell in the pantry and work area
  • Pile of trash in trash bin
  • Pile of dirty dishes in the pantry
  • Food crumbs in work area
  • Dirty mugs in office pantry

Filipino office workers don’t mind:

  • Unpolished floor
  • Dust or stain on window blinds

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#1 Stinky Toilets / Washroom

Who doesn’t hate stinky washrooms and toilets? We want to do a bio-break and be relieved, not get more stressed from the smell of it. 92% of the respondents said they absolutely hate stinky toilets and it would be a horror to go to the office with one.

In an office with either just a few employees or as many as hundreds of employees working at a time, toilet and washroom maintenance is a must. No matter how many times you remind them and no matter how many notices you place around the washroom, some people will really miss their mark. With janitors routinely cleaning the office, it is really a mystery for some why their office washroom stink, and that is why this is Office Pet Peeve #1.

#2 Weird Food Smell in the Pantry Area and Work Area

You can close the window blinds, use noise cancellation earphones, move your work table to get rid of all possible distractions and to make yourself more productive, but you can’t cover your nose from that weird food smell coming out of nowhere. We don’t need to go into the details of which food in particular is weird, but weird is weird and we don’t want to be distracted from work because of it. Sadly, we have those colleagues that bring in “unique” food stuff that they enjoy, but make others either nauseous or grossed out.

#3 Pile of Trash in the Trash Bin

We have someone who brings out the trash at home, but what about at work? If you see a pile of trash in the bin already, either someone’s not doing their job or your colleagues are dumping way too much trash for a day. Either way, seeing a pile of trash means more weird smells and crawling insects. 64% of the respondents said their garbage piles up in the office. Yikes! If your office is set up so that most of you eat out during breaks, having a pile of trash in the bin is surely going to be weird. Though this may not directly affect the productivity of the people working in the office, working in an environment that feels like the dumpster sends a signal that either someone is not being paid enough, or your company culture lacks waste management.

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#4 Pile of Dirty Dishes in the Pantry

This is something that is caused by a few of our colleagues, rather than a shortcoming from the office janitor. Some people really think that the office is an extension of their home and a helper is always there to clean it up. It’s hard to point fingers and there are no lines in the Employee Handbook that says it is not allowed or otherwise. This is probably one of the reasons why 51% of the respondents said they see piled up dishes in their office pantry. Thankfully, due to the pandemic and the rise in health awareness, more people are washing their hands regularly and washing their dishes and utensils immediately to avoid the spread of diseases. Unfortunately, as soon as the regulations eased, some tended to return to their old unhygienic ways.

#5 Food Crumbs in the Work Area

Imagine going through a business call and suddenly you see in the corner of your eyes some cookie and potato chip crumbs on the table or on the office carpet. “How did they get there? Why isn’t anyone picking them up?”, now you are distracted and out of focus from your call. Productivity wasted. There are reasons why your company bans food and drinks in the operations area, apart from the IT department’s recommendation to prevent damage to work computers. Research shows that food, particularly junk food, is distracting in the work area.

#6 Dirty Mugs in Office Pantry

Similar to number 4 on the list, this is something that a colleague will do, rather than your office janitor missed doing. Though not as messy as dirty dishes, dirty mugs are space hoggers. It makes it difficult for others to wash their mugs or dishes with all these lying around the sink. In the survey, almost 93% hate seeing dirty mugs in the office pantry. Though all of the respondents said that they have office janitors and the office provides cleaning materials for the office housekeeping team, only about 36% said their office has reading resources and signs about cleanliness in the office.

A big takeaway from the survey we have done is that almost 86% of the respondents said their office has a regular cleaning schedule and 65% said their office does a yearly office general cleaning. Following a cleaning routine in the office is already a big help in keeping the workforce healthy and productive. However, making the employees involved and participate in maintaining a clean office is also important, as well as making sure the janitors have undergone proper Housekeeping Training.