As an everyday office employee, there is only so much you can do to keep the overall office clean without personal incentives. Upholding a clean office environment is a collaborative effort that takes all hands on deck to keep it that way. You’re no follower though, you’re a leader. Leading by example is sometimes the only way to get through to certain individuals. You can preach a clean office space on a daily basis and sometimes it still won’t click with certain individuals. What can you do about that? Pull your own weight. Set an example. Be the shining model for others to follow.
There’s a good chance that a person’s work area reflects the way in which they live at home. If they are uncleanly during the day they likely don’t have the motivation or care about ensuring their homes or rooms are clean. If for nothing else, keep your office area clean so you can make a habit of doing so on all levels of your life – at work, a home, and within your personal space. First things first – tidy up any garbage around and reorganize. Throw away garbage and unnecessary documents. File away anything that cannot be thrown away. Compartmentalize a designated area on your desk for your pens, loose papers, contacts, or other similarly-categorized supplies.
Eating lunch at your desk is common. Also common is having crumbs fall from your mouth onto your desk, where, they seem to remain for weeks because of unconscious negligence. Right now make a conscious effort to remove those crumbs from your desk. Use an old shirt or rag to wipe all that into a trash can. This will be a good opportunity to dust as well. All sorts of particles will be removed with this cleaning effort and you’ll probably be surprised at how much dust will be swept from your desk too. This is a great opportunity to pick up any crumbs or small papers underneath or around your desk. Coffee stain from 6 months ago that you never got around to removing from the carpet? Remove that stain yourself; you shouldn’t need a carpet cleaner or the janitor to clean up your messes for you.
Habitual Housekeeping and Maintenance
Most of us use reminders to schedule meetings, tasks, send emails, or other work-related activities to ensure we don’t go mad from all the small things we need to be reminded of. Use this as an opportunity to schedule a bi-weekly cleaning session of your office area. Set away 2-3 minutes twice a week to go through your list of office cleaning responsibilities. Once this becomes habit and you no longer need to be reminded of this, this article’s work has been finished!
You can’t control others or their lives. All you can control are your own actions. Preach a clean office at work and compliment others when you see they have made efforts to improving the cleanliness of the workplace. Positive reinforcement every once in a while goes longer than you may think when it comes to others maintaining positive office cleaning habits.
It isn’t good business practice to maintain a filthy office. No one wants to walk into a dirty sink full of dishes on Monday morning or desks with papers and trash strewn on or around them. Keeping your space clean and encouraging others to do the same regularly will bring about change in the office sooner rather than later.
Keith Benton has a fascination with what motivates employees and keeps them happy and productive. He is currently working with COIT, a commercial carpet cleaning company out of Rockville, MD.