By Sarita Harbour
As the office manager, you probably bear the brunt of keeping work spaces neat and tidy, which can detract from more pressing tasks on your plate. If everyone did a little more tidying here and there, it would make your life much easier. And let's face it: Sometimes your coworkers could maybe be more mindful of picking up their own messes.
If office cleaning is taking up too much of your workday, use these tips to encourage other team members to do their fair share.
Communicate Cleanliness (Even When You Don't Use Words)
Strong visual cues can help direct your coworkers to keep tidy — when everything has a clear place, people are more likely to put items back where they belong.
Make sure you have enough of the right storage and organizational accessories to keep everything neatly stored. Take a look around the office and check where you may be lacking bins, cabinets, drawers and containers to hold office supplies or personal items. Also, stock up on things like spray bottles of cleaner, paper towels and other cleaning supplies.
Also, affix simple, unobtrusive labels on your cupboards, drawers, etc. to make everything as clear as possible. Seeing the "Scissors, Staplers and Sticky Notes" drawer might be enough to remind someone to go get that scissors they left out and put it back where it belongs.
Create an Incentive
Everyone loves getting gift cards for the local coffee shop. Give your coworkers the opportunity to earn a $5 card as the winner of "Cleanest Work Space of the Month." A small incentive like this creates a lighthearted contest to help keep desks clean — and even if some coworkers don't care about coffee, for instance, seeing a monthly email about the contest can certainly remind them that cleanliness is a priority and encourage them to keep things neat.
Keeping the stakes low can help keep the incentive effective without creating any office drama ($5 here and there isn't likely to spark any heated competition).
Hold a Declutter Day
Organize quarterly or twice-a-year "Declutter Days" and schedule time for everyone to pitch in to clean up the common areas of your work space, such as the foyer and lunchroom. Make a list of tasks that need doing, such as clearing out the fridge, cabinets and tabletops — if it's practical, make assignments so everyone has ownership of a specific task.
Plan the event either early in the day or over the lunch hour, and supply snacks or a light lunch. Remember that, as seasons change, so do office cleaning and organization. In the winter and spring, make sure your office includes boot trays as well as coat racks or hooks for coats and umbrellas.
No office manager wants to spend all their time cleaning up after coworkers, but it's also no fun to have to scold coworkers into doing their fair share. These ideas can provide a more positive way to get the team to help with office cleaning.