5 Ways to Celebrate Cleaning Workers during International Housekeepers Week (IHW)

WESTERVILLE, OH—Every year during the second full week of September, businesses around the world celebrate the hard-working individuals who help keep their facilities clean. Since 1981, International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA) has sponsored International Housekeepers Week (IHW), which will be held this year on September 13-19. To help organizations prepare, IEHA today announced a list of five ways you can recognize cleaning staff during IHW.

“A cleaner’s work is often difficult, tiresome and largely unappreciated,” said Janet Wiggins, Master CEH, IEHA President. “Yet it’s a critical task in any building type. Whether you work in a building or manage a cleaning staff, IHW gives everyone the opportunity to take a moment to stop the cleaners who help maintain our indoor environments and say ‘thank you’ for all of their effort.”

Whether you plan to hold a different event each day of the week or just take a single day or two to recognize the efforts of cleaning professionals in your building, IEHA’s list of celebration ideas include:

  1. Provide breakfast or a lunch. From donuts at breakfast to a catered lunch, celebrate cleaning staff by buying them food. If you don’t want to purchase lunch, work with other managers throughout the building to bring in food for a potluck picnic or dinner. 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.
  2. 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 80s day, bad hair day, hat day, Hawaiian 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.
  3. Publicly show your appreciation. From posters located throughout the hallways to table tents in the cafeteria, leave reminders in all the places where cleaning staff work to let them know how much their work is appreciated. Use electronic communications like email blasts and acknowledgements in your organization’s newsletter to remind people of IHW and to take a few moments to thank the cleaning staff.
  4. Offer gifts or paid time off. From a small lapel pin to a paid hour off work, the smallest of gestures can go a long way with a cleaning worker. Other possible gifts might include mobile coffee mugs, blankets or travel chairs.
  5. Hold a cleaning-related competition. Many organizations hold events through the week that culminate into a “cleaning olympics” held the final day of IHW. Organize cleaning staff into two teams and have them compete in events such as bed making races, toilet bowl tosses, mop relays and more. If you want to make this a yearly event in your facility, you could buy a large trophy that is passed along each year to the winning team.

“IHW was developed to help people recognize just how critical cleaning workers are to a success of an organization,” continued Wiggins. “It’s often a thankless job but by showing your appreciation through IHW events, you help cleaning workers take pride in what they do.”

About IEHA
IEHA is a professional organization for persons who direct cleaning, maintenance, housekeeping, groundskeeping, safety and facility management programs in commercial, industrial or institutional facilities. The organization was founded in New York City in 1930 and is now headquarted in Westerville, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. IEHA provides its members with an array of professional development, certification, educational, networking and career opportunities. For more information, go to

Posted On September 3, 2015

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