Most people who’ve worked in an office have experienced a seemingly perpetual mess around the coffee machine, a messy restroom, or a culture of cluttered desks. Many, if not most, offices have a dedicated cleaner or cleaning crew, depending on the size of the company.
But Catherine Conlan, in an article for Monster, argues that employers should still encourage employees to do their part to help keep the office clean and tidy and provides some tips to encourage the behavior.
Schedule Cleanup Days
Conlan recommends setting aside 2 days a year for deep cleaning personal spaces and common areas—for example, year-end and over the summer.
Tie Cleanliness to Safety
There are a couple of ways to relate cleanliness to general safety. Perhaps the most obvious is hygiene. Keeping common areas, especially those where food or beverages are consumed, clean helps control the spread of germs and sickness. And keeping clutter at bay can help ensure that there aren’t obstructions to fire extinguishers or other safety equipment, as well as help make sure that equipment is stored in its proper place.
Keep Cleaning Supplies Handy
You don’t want to hinder employees’ motivation to clean by not having supplies readily available. Facilitate their efforts, however latent, by stocking up on useful cleaning items. “If you stock the supply room with cleaning supplies, they’ll be available when people need them,” writes Conlan. “Seeing the supplies can also remind people to tidy up.”
It shouldn’t be the responsibility of one employee, or a handful of employees, to do all the cleaning all the time. Consider assigning certain days of the week or month—depending on the number of employees—to certain individuals or groups. Or, assign certain common areas to certain people.
Name and Shame
This may not be a great idea for all workplaces, depending on the culture and the personalities, but Conlan suggests that in extreme situations, it doesn’t hurt to call out habitual offenders. She gives the example of a company that posted pictures of messy workplaces on a bulletin board. Use this strategy with caution.
Cleaning may not be part of the official job responsibility of the majority of your employees, but a clean office has psychological benefits for your employees, as well as image benefits in case customers visit your office. By following a few tips and strategies, you can engrain cleanliness and tidiness into your company culture.