Offices are notoriously dirty, unkempt and disorganised places. When these critical workspaces become unclean and chaotic, it is always ordinary employees that suffer. Productivity and morale can plummet in such an environment, which is why keeping offices clean and tidy at all times is imperative to a company’s success.
While arranging the regular cleaning of an office is a good start, it’s important to remember that the employees themselves have a responsibility to fulfill. Everyone in a workspace has an obligation to keep their own work areas clean — and imposing these cleaning rules is a great way to ensure those obligations are met.
1. No clutter
Clutter not only makes an office difficult to clean, it has a negative impact on the mood and thought processes of employees. It is therefore a good idea to impose a “clean desk” policy, which stipulates that only items currently in use can be present on a desk. Employees should have the time and means to declutter regularly.
2. Compulsory use of alcohol desk wipes
Telephones, keyboards, tablets and anything that comes into contact with hands regularly should be cleaned and sanitised at least once a day. Give everyone a pack of alcohol wipes, and make sure they use them at the end of every work day.
3. Use of hand sanitiser
Install hand cleansing stations at the entrances and exits of your office — and make their use mandatory. This will reduce the spread of dangerous bacteria and put the minds of employees at ease.
4. Cables must be kept organised
So-called cable spaghetti doesn’t just look unsightly, it attracts dust and creates potential tripping hazards. In addition, the presence of cables can make certain cleaning jobs a lot more difficult. Impose a “tidy cable” rule in your office, and perform regular inspections to ensure the rule is observed.
5. Everyone must help to clean
If you’re simply leaving all the cleaning duties in your office to professional cleaners, your working environment could become unpleasant very quickly. Compile a list of basic cleaning duties, such as cleaning kitchens, office equipment and upholstery — and distribute them evenly among colleagues.
6. Cleaning must be an agenda point at every meeting
All workplaces are required to have regular meetings to discuss health and safety matters. At every meeting, make sure that office cleaning and general cleanliness is always on the agenda. Give people the opportunity to speak up about matters of cleanliness and hygiene. Also, ask people for their ideas on how to make cleaning easier and more effective.
7. Schedule a daily rubbish run
Rubbish can accumulate very quickly unless it is monitored and disposed of regularly. At the end of every work day, nominate someone to perform the “rubbish run”. This essential task should involve an employee collecting rubbish from designated areas and putting it into the main bins for collection. However, all employees should be made responsible for putting their own refuse into the designated office bins provided.
8. Boxes and packaging must be disposed of immediately
While you can leave general rubbish until the end of the day, it’s important to dispose of boxes and packaging immediately. Large pieces of cardboard, tape and plastic not only present a slip and trip hazard, they also present a potential fire hazard. When a delivery arrives into your office, it should be opened immediately, and the packaging should be disposed of in the correct way.
9. No eating at desks
Perhaps the single biggest cause of bacteria and mess in the average office is food consumed by employees. The odd crumb, lettuce leaf or crisp underneath a desk may not seem like a lot, but things can soon add up over the course of a few days. If possible, designate eating areas in your office. However, if the only option is to allow staff to eat food at their workstations, make sure they are made responsible and accountable for cleaning up after themselves.
If you can ensure that everyone in your organisation pulls their weight, your workplace can remain clean and tidy at all times — as long as the necessary rules are in place.