Husbands can now rejoice, there is a scientific explanation for what men have subconsciously understood for years, too much housework sucks.

Apparently our obsession for clean and sterile environments is depressing us. An article I recently read in The Metro said that we are now making our world so clean and sterile that our bodies are being robbed of the multitudes of benign bacteria and germs to fight on a regular basis. This is causing us to become both weaker and in many cases our immune systems actually start attacking our own bodies leading to things like increases in allergies and depression.

People living rural lifestyles (i.e. farming and ranching) are exposed to vastly larger numbers of these bacteria and germs, just like our ancestors have been for years; even if they keep a clean house. The result is that rural dwellers suffer less depression.

This article and the research it is based on brings up all kinds of other questions. Are slobs happier? Does riding public transportation nullify the effect? Etc.

I also see a parallel in the business world around sharing new ideas and challenging the status quo. Does your business environment encourage:

  • The non-judgemental creation and sharing of new ideas?
  • Reflection and learning?
  • Continuous improvement?
  • Radical ideas that could change everything?
  • Participation by everyone and not just the leadership team or owner?

Are you accidentally (or through feeding your ego) encouraging the opposite? A sterile, "That is not how things are done here!" environment?

Your body needs those bacteria, germs and little organisms to be stronger; and so does your business. Yes, they may be pesky and distracting at times. Cleaning products companies (and some people) may claim that you are safer without the risk they bring. 

What worked in the past might no longer work in the future and by the time you notice, it is often too late.

That little germ of an idea might turn out to be the next great product or service.

And most people need to be growing stronger too; or they will be unhappy or move on.

It turns out sterile environments are depressing on many levels.