How clean is your office? Presumably you have a professional office cleaner that comes in regularly to do the necessary. But what about the other days? If the daily standard of tidiness on the premises leaves a lot to be desired, it’s not a nice environment to work in. In fact, messy offices have been shown to reduce productivity levels and increase staff absences. Nor does it make a good impression on visitors and clients.
But with a bit of thought and determination, there are many ways that you can tackle the problem and keep your workspace clean.
- Introduce new house rules
Observe your staff and assess to see whether a culture of untidiness as slowly but surely taken hold in the office. Does anyone really ‘care’ about a tidy office enough to do anything about it, particularly if there is no management input or direction?
Perhaps it’s up to you to force a change. Have a team meeting to raise the issue of a continually messy office and introduce some new rules and initiatives to encourage a more positive attitude towards cleanliness, ideally along with a company policy on rubbish and recycling.
- Make individuals responsible
The best way to keep your office clean is to make individual staff members take responsibility for the physical area they work in. If workers can be made aware that it is up to them to ensure their desk looks professional and presentable, they are much more likely to make the effort.
Of course, there is a difference between a desk that is messy and one that is not clean. Just because each team member is expected to tidy away their own mess, it doesn’t mean that your premises no longer need professional cleaning – far from it, an office cleaner should always be part of your general office admin routine. But any team member who consistently leaves their area untidy is likely to be part of the problem.
- Tidy those wires
The amount of IT and communications equipment that an office requires seems to be growing by the year. While this is not a bad thing as such, it does mean you need to be careful with wiring and cabling. Tangled wires can be the scourge of the tidy office. Not only do they look awful and contribute to the general messiness of the office, but they can also be a trip hazard which can make the office dangerous.
Spend some time tidying up the wires and cabling from any PCs, printers, routers or other technical equipment – ideally at the time when they’re being installed. Tie them together or stash them away neatly and you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes.
- Store documents properly
There’s nothing to make an office look untidy like documents and files strewn all over the place. It could be that this isn’t actually the fault of the workers – in the digital age, many businesses simply don’t think to provide adequate space to store hardcopies of files.
It’s important to recognise that many employees and other businesses you work with will still like to work with physical documents, so it is important to have a good filing system and a sensible amount of storage space at your disposal to stop files piling up on office desks.
- Provide bins
While you should be encouraging your staff to reuse and recycle rather than add to landfill, you do still need to provide workers with somewhere to put their rubbish. A personal waste paper basket under every desk is not necessary but a number of bins dotted around the office for everyone to use makes sense and helps the office to look tidier.
Busy staff will often take the easiest option, and if they have to walk to the kitchen to find the nearest rubbish bin, they might prefer to pile up rubbish on/under their desk during the day – not the solution you want.
- Don’t eat at your desk
Staff eating lunch or snacking at their desks is definitely something that businesses should look to limit. Eating at your desk spreads germs and creates unnecessary litter around the workstation, which can actually cause far greater problems than just being untidy.
What’s more, lunchtime is an opportunity to step away from the desk and take a much needed break from the working day, destressing and recharging batteries for the afternoon. It’s also great for socialisation between workers to build a stronger team atmosphere – if everyone spends all their working hours at their desks, this is a missed opportunity.
- Consider artificial plants
There’s no doubt that a beautiful bouquet of flowers on reception, or lush green pot plants artfully displayed can raise the mood and atmosphere in the office and improve its overall look and feel. However, the trade-off is that living plants shed leaves and need constant care by someone who knows what they’re doing.
If no-one is in charge of your office plants or cut flowers, they start to deteriorate quickly. The inevitable result is an office that looks and feels messy and uncared for. Have you considered artificial displays instead? Take a look at these incredibly realistic looking examples that take no maintenance whatsoever!
- Have computers professionally cleaned
Here’s a shocking statistic: The average computer keyboard and mouse contain 30 times more harmful bacteria than a toilet seat including E.coli and staphylococcus. The germs come from food and drink consumed at the desk and/or spilt in a clumsy moment, as well as our own bodily fluids that can transmit germs via sneezing, nose blowing, not washing hands etc. It’s not a pretty picture; it’s a health hazard.
In addition to providing screen wipes and encourage their daily use, it’s well worth getting your computer equipment professionally cleaned every few months or so to keep your computer, keyboard and mouse relatively germ free.