Muscat: Companies must keep their workplaces clean so that employees don’t fall sick often and cost them in the long run, a top facilities management firm in Oman has stated.
The Qurum Business Group (QBG), in collaboration with the Middle East Facilities Management Association (MEFMA), held a workshop recently to address the issue of workplace health and hygiene and spread awareness about how this affects employees.
“The problem is that in facilities management, everyone just thinks about cleaning. But, there are many other important requirements, including pest control, office maintenance, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) maintenance,” Khulood Al Hosni, assistant manager for corporate communications at QBG, said.
“This idea has still not spread throughout the Omani market. So, what we want to do is show the importance of having these services under one contract. We decided to hold this workshop because we are one of the founding members of MEFMA,” she further said.
“Today, people in the Omani market come to us and say they want only cleaning services or AC maintenance services. But, it is important to address all issues of keeping an office clean together, because this will lead to a safer workspace and more savings in the long run,” she added.
As many as 86 representatives from different companies in Oman attended the conference. Al Hosni, however, said that more was needed to be done to make employees aware of the importance of cleanliness at the workplace.
“This is a pressing issue in our market, because still, there isn’t a lot of knowledge about facilities management. That is why, we have these sorts of workshops,” she explained. “Nowadays, real estate is expanding in Oman. Our target is to see how many buildings come up from now until 2020, so that we can target businesses and make them aware of the importance of proper maintenance. They will then realise the value of integrated facilities management, wherein things can be easily taken care of by one company from A to Z. This includes services such as electrical compliance, fire safety, and security,” she revealed.
“Our target was 50 people, but the attendance was more than expected. We were very happy. We mainly targeted the technical departments in both private and government sectors. This was a great workshop because there was plenty of interaction and learning,” she said.
Meanwhile, Dr A Basheer, senior internist at Badr Al Sama’a Hospital in Ruwi, stressed that keeping the workplace clean was vital to avoid falling sick in the office.
“In terms of airborne infections, two main kinds of illnesses can be caused. The first is lung infections, which occur when the AC is not cleaned properly because that allows foreign bodies to stay in AC ducts for a long time. The second takes place in case fungus forms in AC ducts, which causes allergic reactions in some people, in the form of constant sneezing, runny noses, and watery and itchy eyes,” he explained.
“Ventilation systems in offices are very important because if one person falls sick and everybody is working in a poorly ventilated room, then everyone else can fall sick as well,” Basheer said.
“If there is a lot of dust in the room, this may be very bad for people who have asthma,” he added.
Basheer had some simple solutions for people to keep their workplace clean.
“When you throw away food, make sure it does not stay in the dustbin for too long, because if it rots, it can attract insects such as ants and cockroaches. Bacteria will also develop on it and the insects will spread these microorganisms everywhere. There should be proper waste collection and disposal plans at every workplace,” he explained.