You may not be able to choose who you work with, but there are steps you can take to making your office environment a cleaner, more functional, and altogether happier place to work in. Here’s how.
Although you may breeze past reception each morning without paying it much attention, this is the first thing your contacts and clients will see of your business, and that’s why it’s so important to maintain. Cleanliness goes without saying; chairs and tables in the waiting area should be swept and wiped every day, and the reception desk itself needs to remain clutter-free. Little touches go a long way, and that’s where flower, in-date papers and magazines, and a company portfolio to browse pay dividends. Coat and umbrella stands instantly improve a visitor’s impression of the company (having to drape wet coats and brollies on the backs of chairs doesn’t make anyone feel particularly comfortable or special).
It’s a place of respite, but it can also be the source of many employees’ woes. The problem with the office kitchen space is that it’s the culmination of lots of people’s different views on what they consider to be acceptable cleanliness. No one likes to be bossed about but laying down a few ground rules will help. If there’s no designated cleaner, set up a basic rota which means that once every few months, it’s the turn of a particular employee to wipe surfaces and empty bins. Such a small chore to be performed so occasionally means no one should really object. On top of this, get people to wash up their mugs, cutlery, etc, at the end of each day, and to empty the fridge at the end of the week. Ensure that all cleaning supplies are kept topped up; it’s not on if employees have to go to the shops to buy washing up liquid. As an extra incentive for employees to keep the kitchen clean and tidy, employers might consider adding little touches such as flowers, and fruit and candy bowls.
Especially if you work in an open plan space, the state of the desks is paramount to the feel of the office. No employee can be told to organize their desk in a certain fashion (short of not having it littered with rotting banana skins) but there are certain things you can suggest. Above all, you should make use of filing space: shelves, cabinets, drawers, etc, to keep paperwork off the desk. Just like the kitchen, incentive works a treat; if you’re an employer, offer free cleaning wipes to encourage employees to regularly give their desks a quick clean every now and again. By making the kitchen a pleasanter dining area, you’ll also be able to drag employees away from their desks at lunch, reducing crumb-in-keyboard syndrome. You could also hand out a small monthly prize for the cleanest desk.