When a company in Brazil was keen on solving some issues with cleaning the office workspace, the manager asked the janitors how much time they were spending in each room – and this simple question changed their lives.

Nataly Bonato, who is one of the managers at the Sao Paulo branch of the WeWork company, requested a daily report from the custodians with some very simple information. All she wanted to know was the name of the janitor, which room they cleaned, why a particular room wasn’t cleaned (if any), and how much time was spent in each room.

When the first report took a week to be turned in and the answers weren’t even accurate, Bonato confronted the janitors.

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“I requested a meeting and to my surprise the reason was because over 50% of the cleaning team was illiterate,” Bonato said in a Facebook post.

Instead of requesting new staff to get the job done, however, Bonato decided to help them out.

“We have a school that uses our workspace, so we challenged them to help the staff with the problem, and they got organized to make it happen,” says Bonato.

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Every Tuesday and Thursday, the janitorial team would have a longer lunch break so they could take literacy lessons. Five months later, the best students were already writing letters and every custodian could read simple texts.

To celebrate the accomplishments, WeWork had a graduation party with the full outfit that the occasion requires.

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