Spring is a time for revival and it can definitely be used to spruce up the office and boost productivity. Yes, we’re talking about spring cleaning. It’s easy to do and a few simple steps will have a profound impact on the workspace. You don’t have to dig deep – a little bit of de-cluttering will immediately transform the office and make people more motivated to come to work in the morning.
So, what does it take to do effective spring cleaning and enjoy a wonderful workspace? Here are a few simple tips to follow.
Start with Your Desk
Take a good look at everything found on your desk. How many of the things that you find on the surface have you used in the past month? Three months? Past year?
Most of us have a tendency to simply pile things on top of each other instead of dealing with clutter right away. This is particularly true for items that we’re not certain about. Chances are that they’ll potentially be handy again in the future. Chances are that you’ve used the particular item once and you wonder whether you’re going to need it (ever) again.
If you haven’t used it in the past week or month, throw it away or submit the item for recycling. Dig deep in the pile. You’ll probably come across items that you’ve long forgotten about. A little bit of work space de-cluttering will make your desk much more organized and functional.
Make the Office Paperless
It’s about time to reduce the amount of paper being used in the office.
Going digital is essential for reducing the waste of paper in the typical office. Do a thorough paper purge and recycle all of the documents and sheets that are no longer required or being used. It may be impossible for you to go completely paperless but the time is just right to consider the ways in which you can reduce the use of sheets.
Many old contracts can be scanned and stored in a digital format. The paper can then be recycled. Apart from being good for the environment, this decision will open up a lot of space in the office.
Clean and Hi-Tech
What’s the one piece that you use the most in the office? If your answer is “the keyboard,” you should probably think about the last time you gave it a thorough cleaning.
The office computer keyboard harbors numerous bacteria and it can easily get clogged with dust, food particles, lint and anything else that’s flying in the air. Disconnect (if you’re not using a wireless keyboard) and get ready to find tons of treasures stuck underneath the keys.
A can of compressed air is all that you’ll need to remove the overwhelming majority of particles stuck in your keyboard. Wipe the surface, as well. If you see the remains of an old coffee spill on the edge of the keyboard, you may want to wipe it with a damp cloth. Make sure that the keyboard is completely dry before plugging it back in.
The same applies your computer screen and the PC itself. Wipe the dust and if you don’t know how to check the computer for dust, you may want to call the IT support team for a bit of assistance.
Improve Air Quality
A few plants will contribute to a nicer atmosphere in the office and they can also be used to improve indoor air quality. NASA researchers have found out that various common houseplants can filter many of the common volatile organic compounds, as well as other impurities found in the urban air. This is the main reason why such plants are taken on space stations to clean the air.
Some of the plants that will make the office cleaner and the air fresher include aloe vera (the fact that it’s incredibly easy to grow and it requires little water is an added bonus), spider plant, snake plant, English ivy, fern, eucalyptus, chrysanthemums, peace lilies and ficus.
Get Rid of Digital Clutter, as Well
Being organized impacts every aspect of doing your job. Desktop clutter is very important to tackle. The same applies to digital clutter.
Take a look at your desktop. How many files and shortcuts do you see there? How many of those do you use? The rules for cleaning digital clutter are the same as the ones for organizing your desk – if you haven’t used it recently, let it go.
A hard drive can be used to save a digital copy of important older documents and files. Everything else that’s not important (drafts, plans and proposals that you no longer need, images and even software that isn’t being used anymore) has to go.
Cleaner and more functional offices don’t require major changes. Starting small and having the right cleaning/organization team can lead to major improvements. It’s all about using the space that you have available in the best possible way. Spring is the perfect time to transform offices. Take a day or two and get everybody involved. The results will be observable almost immediately.
Every business, regardless of size and industry, has only seconds to impress clients and business partners. This is why the appearance of the lobby and the reception area matter.
The reception is the first thing that people see when coming for a meeting or a purchase. The cleanliness, the furniture and even the demeanor of the receptionist are all so important. If you have a lobby or a waiting area, you’ll have to think about their appearance, as well.
Don’t know whether your reception area is up to par? Worry not, we’re here to help!
You don’t have to buy or create something incredibly innovative and unexpected in order to make the reception great. Getting design inspiration from other companies that have the perfect reception or lobby can help you create the ambiance that your clients will love.
A reception area could be minimalist, featuring warm natural materials like wood, modernistic or even rustic. Just choose the style that will contribute to enhancing the corporate image you’d like to enforce.
Branding, Branding, Branding
Whether your business is just getting established or you’ve been around for decades, you should use every opportunity to make your brand identity more recognizable.
Branded furniture is fun and cool. You can also feature decorative elements on the wall that highlight the company’s logo. Keep the interior design in the same color scheme as your marketing materials (like your logo and your company website). Such stylistic choices create consistency and help set your identity apart.
Keep it Clean and Cozy
The reception area, lobby or waiting room can all be ranked as high traffic areas. There will be dozens of people passing through these parts of the office on a daily basis. As a result, your lobby can quickly get dirty.
It will get particularly bad on rainy and snowy days.
Make sure that the lobby is cleaned thoroughly at least once per day. If it’s raining outside, you’ll probably have to get the floor cleaned a couple of times.
The simple placement of welcome mats in front of the entryway can reduce the amount of mud and moisture that guests bring inside. Another simple trick that will enable you to keep the lobby clean involves a minimalist design. Having fewer accessories and decorations means having fewer items to wipe from dust.
A bit of greenery in the waiting areas will quickly improve the atmosphere.
Plants are particularly great for minimalist receptions and the waiting areas that are decorated in neutral colors (white, black, grey and beige). They will provide a natural contrast and a couple of interest points.
Multimedia in the Lobby
If you want to make your reception area even more innovative, you’ll definitely benefit from multimedia presentations. Relax, they’re very easy to do.
All you need is a flat screen TV. Record videos of your employees speaking about their job and why they love it. Alternatively, you can create slideshows that present work process pictures, diagrams and other information visitors could potentially find interesting.
While waiting for a meeting, visitors have nothing to do. This means you have a captive audience. Why not acquaint this audience with your business? The investment in such multimedia presentations is minimal and they can be quite impressive.
Have Beverages Available
Even if they don’t have to wait a lot for a meeting or to make a purchase, people love getting something extra. This something extra could come in the form of a beverage or even candies.
Water and tea don’t cost a lot but they’ll keep visitors refreshed. Quite often, these little signs of attention are the ones that matter the most.
In many offices, the reception turns sooner or later into a storage area. This is a big no-no, even if you’re pressed for space. If things tend to accumulate in areas like the lobby, you’ll have to get in the habit of periodical de-cluttering.
Such activities can happen once per month. Look for boxes and office supplies that don’t belong in the reception area. Throw out old magazines and promotional materials, replace those with fresh media. Files and documents should also be kept out of sight, creating a nice place for the people that are there to interact with your employees.
A cool reception area doesn’t demand a major investment. You simply have to think about comfort and a good presentation. Keeping the lobby clean at all times will also be sufficient to please visitors and create the right first impression. Next time you enter the office, reconsider the importance and the appearance of the reception. Chances are that you can do at least a couple of things to make it better.
Besides calling to the services of a commercial cleaning contractor, you should also train your employees and implement a series of office cleaning good practices. This way, you’ll call the janitors less often and also make employees at your office more responsible about the environment where they work every day. It doesn’t mean you’ll ask them to handle the entire cleaning, but instead you’ll determine them to keep the working space in good condition and improve their productivity.
If important pieces of paper seem to disappear when you need them the most, the desks at your office are probably filled with scattered piles that are difficult to index. Use cabinets, archive older folders, and keep just critical documents within reach. Label items and use a reliable filing method.
Eliminate the Catch-All Drawer
Many people throw various items into a desk drawer just to get rid of them and eventually lose track of what’s inside that drawer. Soon they become anxious at the idea of opening it, not to mention cleaning it up. As long as you have a place for each item in your office, you’ll never need a catch-all drawer. However, if you do keep one, try organizing it every month and discarding unnecessary items.
Don't Eat In Front Of The Computer
You may want your employees to work more, but working through lunch is not a good idea. Not being able to enjoy breaks and relax actually decreases productivity, and moreover, monitors will be splashed with food and keywords will be full of crumbles. It’s no wonder that the keyboard is one of the places most loaded with germs in an office. If you care about the way your office looks and your employees’ well-being, encourage them to give up eating lunch in front of the computer.
Because electronic devices are nowadays being used almost all the time in office environments, they attract dirt and bacteria. These items should be cleaned on a regular basis instead of waiting for the janitors to remove the dirt every once in a while. Provide your employees with microfiber cloths and special vacuum cleaners or compressed air cans to clean electronic devices.
Keeping The Break Room Clean
Having a clean break room improves the employees’ morale and keeps them motivated. Some ideas to achieve this include cleaning the refrigerator regularly, sanitizing tables and sinks after each lunch break, washing dishes after use and emptying waste baskets every day.
Reducing Hard Copy
Most of the papers that you save are never used or needed again. When in doubt, throw it out – or even better, don’t even print it at all. However, if you really need hard copy, implement an efficient filing system.
Cleaning Desk Before Leaving
Procrastination is the enemy of both productivity and cleanliness. Encourage staff to clean working stations at the end of the day instead of leaving it for the next morning. You are a lot more effective when you bring closure to each working day and enjoy a clean start every morning.
Roberts, Jason. Definitive guide to office cleaning. Retrieved from the Vacuums Guide website: http://www.vacuumsguide.com/office-cleaning/
Top 10 Tricks To De-Clutter Your Office. Retrieved from the Forbes website: http://www.forbes.com/pictures/lmj45iljd/10-tricks-to-spring-clean-your-office/
Though they say that a messy desk is conductive of productivity, it turns out that coworkers could be judging you on the basis of what your workspace looks like. A survey shows that nearly 57 percent of American employees judge their coworkers that have a messy desk. Very often, a dirty workspace is attributed to laziness (ouch!).
Even if you’re the busiest person at the office, there are certain easy and quick things you can do to maintain order, get rid of clutter and keep your desk spotlessly clean.
Zoning Works Miracles for the Hectic Workspace
Just like you can use zones to organize the garage (here, you can insert a link to the garage cleaning article), zoning your workspace can do miracles for keeping order. Think about how you utilize the workspace every single day and come up with a zone plan on the basis of this information.
For example, you can have a zone that’s completely clear and used to do work. Dedicate a separate zone to office supplies and stationery, a zone to personal items (family photos, your bottle of water, a flower pot) and a communication zone that holds your phone, your notes, letters, a fax machine or anything else that you use during daily professional interactions.
Have a List of Daily Cleaning and Organization Tasks
No matter how busy you are, you can dedicate five minutes in the beginning and the end of the workday to doing a bit of cleaning and organizing.
Some of the daily tasks you should consider executing include wiping the surfaces, putting files in order or adding new documents to the files, throwing away everything that you no longer need, rinsing your coffee mug, making sure that your computer screen is clean and removing dirt from the keyboard.
If you stick to this daily routine, you’ll soon find your workspace to be much better looking and a lot more welcoming.
Don’t Let Clutter Take Over
Once you get in the habit of postponing the workspace cleaning, you’ll find yourself having to handle a humongous task when you decide to finally deal with the mess.
Don’t let the clutter take over your workspace. Deal with the mess immediately, otherwise you will be overwhelmed by the process. Put the file that you just used back in its place. You have a couple of drawers – place things inside instead of on top of the desk. If you don’t need those letters anymore, have them shredded and recycled. The more you let things remain in your workspace, the more difficult it’s going to be to get rid of those.
Keep a Trashcan Nearby
People that have to get up and walk across the room in order to throw something away will most likely refrain from doing so.
Something as basic as the physical proximity of a trash bin will make it so much easier for you to get rid of everything that you don’t need. Otherwise, these items will simply remain on your desk.
Drawers are Nice but They should be Organized, as Well
Do you have a “throw it all inside” drawer? Most of us do. This is the place we use for easy de-cluttering and getting rid of all the items on the surface. This drawer, however, isn’t making things better. It’s simply keeping the clutter out of sight.
Open the drawer and go through all of the items stored inside. How many of these things are you actually going to use ever again? When in doubt about a certain item, throw it out – you’re not going to use it.
When you’re done with the cleaning process, try to get the drawer organized. Some of the best drawer organizing ideas are really simple and they’ll keep everything within your reach.
Deal with Those Personal Items
Office clutter can stem from your personal items, as well.
Make sure that every single piece has its specific place and keep it there. Hang a hook on the cubicle wall – it’s simple and incredibly effective for keeping your outwear away from your desk. Don’t just throw it on the back of the chair – it looks bad and it certainly is messy.
The same applies to your handbag – the hook can be positioned beneath your desk for added convenience.
If you often meet with clients or business partners in your office space, make sure there are enough hooks and opportunities for the guests to leave their personal items there. Such simple decisions create visual consistency and they make your space look much more professional and welcoming.
By Cliff Derksen
Owner of First Impressions Janitorial