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“Cleaning Impacts Business Performance”

Rajiv Patni

Rajiv Patni, the COO of Inox Leisure Ltd

The complexity of overseeing and executing strategies at the C-suite level often leaves little scope for any CXO to even notice a tissue paper lying stray in the office corridor. But it does not stop Rajiv Patni, the COO of Inox Leisure Ltd, one of India’s largest multiplex chains present in 147 locations and over 600 screens in 68 cities, from removing any unwanted material lying on his way to the cabin, rather than letting it spoil the “magic of freshness” experienced while entering the office in the morning. Mohana M, Editor, Clean India Journal, captures the deep-set values which CXOs believe in and follow even amidst tight schedules of a top management executive.

A typical Bollywood movie featuring a corporate professional would open with the boss getting out of a posh car and walking to the office with a couple of officials in tow. However, for Rajeev Patni, striding down the office corridor, mind-mapping the work ahead… “there cannot be a better start to a day than entering a chic, clean, safe and well-appointed office.”

But what if a piece of tissue flies down his way? “Of course, a piece of tissue on the floor can not only disrupt your thought process, but also spoil the magic of freshness.” This is true not just for CXOs; even a common executive walking into the office gets perturbed and loses his or her line of thoughts with anything unclean that comes in the way. Not everyone would want to pick it up themselves; most people would wait for housekeeping to take care of it.

Rajeev thinks differently though. “It goes without saying that I would pick it up myself to set an example, and have the necessary corrective action taken.”

Well, this is something that happens inside an office, but we all face the omnipresent challenge of passing through unclean roads first thing in the morning!

“’Unclean roads’ is a subject which I feel should be addressed and taken care of. It reminds me of the importance of fulfilling one’s professional responsibilities in life and building mass  awareness with regards to cleanliness and hygiene.”

Needless to say, one can’t be less than careful or concerned while traveling outside the office, and the feeling is no different when visiting a client. Beyond cleanliness and hygienic environment, Rajeev is particular about other factors as well: “I hope that the place of the meeting is well-lit, airy and of course, neat and tidy. A lively meeting delivers more productive results than the one held in darker spaces.”

The first reaction of any CXO or an individual to anything that is not right would be a strong momentary temptation to do something immediately to bring about a change. Some of us do get heroic fantasising about making the entire environment or the nation clean as a whole!

“Who would not like the entire country to become clean in the blink of an eye? I personally admire and appreciate the kind of thoughtful impact created by campaigns like Swachh Bharat, as it has brought about positive awareness about needs and ways to keep the environment and the country clean.”

In fact, not always can anyone or everyone do something to make the surrounding clean. Hypothetically, “every person who likes to keep his surroundings clean and tidy is a great ambassador of cleanliness.” Not to forget, it is important to acknowledge “the name of one person, Hon’ble Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi” who initiated Swachh Bharat at the Red Fort.

It is over five years and we are into the second phase of Swachh Bharat… there is still a long way to go. The question that often surfaced before Swachh Bharat and continues to be asked even today: “why are people not maintaining cleanliness?

“The biggest challenge which we are facing with regards to cleanliness is the lack of individual intent, ownership and responsibility. Till the time we keep believing that cleanliness is only the responsibility of cleaning personnel, we are going to struggle in our cleanliness mission.”

Not just the cleaning mission, like any other activity of an organisation, cleaning too requires immense planning, execution and monitoring. “Any cleanliness program must assign topmost priority to convenience, comfort and safety of the users of the facility, whether it is our guests visiting our multiplexes, or our employees working in our offices. Next comes awareness and the ease of execution and implementation of the cleaning program.”

Besides planning, the execution of the plan is important and it is perfect teamwork that ensures a successful program. Cleaning at a multiplex requires efficient resources, proper coordination and excellent time management. “Every single housekeeping personnel in my team working across all the 147 multiplexes in 68 cities of India is doing an extremely impressive job, and I take this opportunity to applaud their efforts over the years in making INOX a preferred movie watching destination, a process in which housekeeping plays an extremely critical role.” In addition, “in our business, the level of cleaning and hygiene can potentially have a direct impact on the business performance of that property. Once the team understands this criticality, I believe there should be no other motivation which should be required. I am proud to share that the cleaning and safety standards set by our teams reflect in the impressive performance our organization has been delivering over so many years, largely because our staff members are already diligent followers of cleaning.

“At INOX, hygiene, safety and cleanliness have always been a priority, so we are not feeling overburdened or stretched by the present paranoia due to the pandemic. For our teams, a spic and span cinema has been a way of life, and we take a lot of pride in the same.”

“I recollect an incident which took place when I was on an official visit to our multiplexes in Jaipur. While exiting a show, a guest casually threw a soft drink glass towards the dust bin, which incidentally fell outside. Ignoring this, the guest continued to walk away. Before we could ask our housekeeping person on duty to pick up the glass, a kid — all of seven years of age — rushed towards the glass, picked it up and threw it in the dustbin. His gentle act – which lasted for only a few seconds — has left a huge impact on me, as he drew applause from all the onlookers and made the guest who threw it away casually also feel guilty.”

“Whether at our residences, our offices or our places of leisure and entertainment, there are personnel dedicated to the purpose of cleaning, who put in a lot of hard work day in and day out. I believe we all must show a lot of respect towards them and their efforts. Also, my message to the readers is that we have to understand that along with the cleaning personnel, it is our individual responsibility as well to keep our surroundings clean and hygienic. The moment we understand and assume this responsibility, the world will become a cleaner place. Our acts of cleanliness would not only inspire others around us to take this responsibility more seriously, but would also make the task of the cleaning personnel easier and simpler.”

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