Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online
December 2012 Feature 2

A Clean Slate For Productivity

Creating a clutter-free workplace allows custodial professionals to more easily perform the jobs for which they were hired.

November 30, 2012

If only we could walk around like cartoon characters with our thought bubbles showing.

We would likely find one another’s thoughts perplexing.

“I don’t know why our office doesn’t look as top notch as I wish; after all, I’m paying for a cleaning crew,” puzzles a business owner or manager.

And, the bewilderment would not only be on the part of building owners or those in supervisory positions.

“I sure wish we could show this company what we can really do. It’s impossible to demonstrate our professional level of cleaning here,” thinks the head of the cleaning company, as he or she shakes his or her head.

Cluttered WorkspaceNo matter which end of the conversation you are on, you are talking about clutter.

Professional cleaning companies, providing services to businesses and schools, wish they could really get to the surfaces they need to clean.

Meanwhile, managers and owners are looking for a consistent, expert clean.

In workplaces of all types, clutter slowly creeps in and makes it more difficult for cleaning crews to perform the tasks for which they were contracted to complete.

It’s time-consuming to maneuver around things or to move items and put them back.

In many settings — offices, schools and other places of business — cleaning crews are asked to not touch items.

Certainly, there are projects and papers that should not be handled or disturbed.

But, in other cases, piles of outdated papers, sample items, office supplies and other goodies simply gather dust, create a mess and make cleaning a difficult — if not impossible — task.

Getting Rid Of The Clutter

Creating a clutter-free zone not only allows cleaning crews to do their professional best but has the benefit of creating a safe, attractive environment for both employees and customers or students.

In addition, uncluttered workplaces mean employees can easily find what they need and perform their jobs more efficiently, which saves time and money on all fronts.

Suggestions for working toward a less cluttered work environment include the following 10 tips:

1.   Clutter-free tip one

Make sure that each office contains enough file cabinets or drawer space to handle papers.

2.   Clutter-free tip two

Establish a purge and shred day so that old files are cleared.Cluttered Workspace 2

It simply isn’t possible to continue to add to a cabinet and never remove items.

This will allow cluttered stacks in offices to find homes.

3.   Clutter-free tip three

Add labeled “in” boxes for each desk.

A wall pocket safely corrals incoming mail and papers without adding more desktop clutter.

4.   Clutter-free tip four

Provide more paper recycling locations and shred box locations in the office.

If it is convenient to use these, individuals are less likely to create stacks at each desk.

5.   Clutter-free tip five

Desktop file holders are great for storing and retrieving active projects rather than having them in numerous stacks across the desk.

6.   Clutter-free tip six

Company policies can help remove and prevent clutter so that cleaning crews can do their jobs.

A policy prohibiting the storage of items on the floor not only promotes safety, but it also creates a neat environment.

If an employee needs a storage cabinet or bookcase, then address those needs rather than allow piles to be stacked on the floor under and around desks.

7.   Clutter-free tip seven

If an overabundance of personal items, desktop toys and knick-knacks make it difficult to clean and offer a cluttered appearance, company policies can easily allow for individuality, but with certain limitations.

Personal items and framed photos should be limited to a certain number.

8.   Clutter-free tip eight

Organize office supplies in containers or drawer dividers so they are easy to find and use.Image courtesy of Process Cleaning for Healthy Schools (PCHS)

9.   Clutter-free tip nine

Only keep items used daily out on desks.

Store items used occasionally inside desk drawers or cabinets.

10.   Clutter-free tip 10

Label everything from the outside of file drawers to the inside edges of supply cabinet shelves to keep everything organized.

Time is lost daily as employees look for things they know they have, but just don’t know where they currently reside.

The time spent de-cluttering and organizing your office space will be made up in increased productivity.

And, no clutter means that cleaning crews can easily provide the professional cleaning services they were hired to do.