How to declutter the office to improve productivity
You understand the benefits of a cleaner office, right? But how do you install a culture of cleanliness? It’s a tricky matter. We have some advice that will help you and your leadership team improve the office environment without frustrating or distracting employees. Before we get into how we will instill and maintain the change, let’s look at why we need cleaner offices in the first place.
Luckily, we do have computers. Imagine the sheer volume of paper files and documents we would have to deal with if our offices were to go back to the ways of old. We’ve talked before about the value of a clean computer desktop, so in this post we will focus on the clutter and the junk we can see.
Why Cleanliness Matters
Our mental and physical health improve when our spaces are clean and organized. In addition to the bacteria and dust that can impact your health and your allergies, junk and clutter have a deleterious impact on our well being. Junk causes stress. Aren’t our workplaces stressful enough?
Productivity also suffers when we are unclean, because messes are inherently disorganized. When employees have systems, schemas, and organizational methods in place, they work quicker, with fewer errors. It doesn’t matter if you’re assembling car engines or writing press releases, an organized system reduces redundancies and lessens mental errors.
And of course, you want to attract customers and quality employees, right? Would you buy your widgets from a messy place? More importantly, perhaps, if you had to choose between a new, clean office with nice amenities or your cluttered office space, which one are you going to work in? Don’t lose quality employees and potential clients because you and your staff cannot keep the place in clean order.
How to Instill a Clean Culture
You may be familiar with the basics of Change Management. It’s a common theme in today’s workplace. Use whatever model you think is best, but for the sake of this post, we will look at the Prosci ADKAR model. All change support methods have similar elements. ADKAR is an acronym, which when followed in order, helps greatly in establishing and sustaining change.
A = Awareness
You know why you need a cleaner space. Before you can proceed, you need to communicate with your employees to establish their awareness of the need for change. If folks don’t know why they are being asked to become cleaner or more organized, or if they do not understand that there is an aim and goal behind the change, you will be met with resistance.
D = Desire
Now that you and your staff know there is a problem, it’s time to stoke the flames of desire. As cheesy as that Soap Opera talk sounds, you do need to work together to create a common desire to create and sustain a cleaner environment.
K = Knowledge
The third step is all about fostering the knowledge and the skill to make the needed changes. Use employees who are models of organization and cleanliness as examples for the rest of the team.
A = Ability
All your employees have the ability to contribute to a cleaner, more streamlined office environment. This step is more crucial when the change is truly challenging. If you were trying to move everyone from paper and pen to a laptop, you would need to thoroughly assess their ability to make that challenging change. Cleaning isn’t too difficult for anyone.
R = Reinforcement
Rewards. It’s all about rewards. If you’re in a larger office, you might establish a committee to oversee the cleanliness and organization of the office. These same folks could nominate Cleanliness Award winners. Everyone needs to feel appreciated and rewarded to reinforce and sustain the change in culture. Rewards can be verbal, financial, or even a high five. Just be sure to recognize when they perform the new behavior.
Make it a Team Effort
Change is easier to swallow when it’s brought on by the whole leadership team or by committee. Go it alone, and you risk looking like the Clean Police. Instead, find partners in cleanliness:
Your most obvious partner is your janitorial staff. Talk with them. They are experts on where the messes most often occur, and they will have ideas to help.
Establishing an environmental or a cleanliness committee in larger offices is a great way of getting others involved and creating buy-in.
Junk hauling platforms and trash removal companies like Go Trashy can be a very affordable and effective way of getting rid of the unwanted and unneeded stuff.
And remember to partner with HR. Making cleanliness and organization a part of the handbook and new employee orientation can go a long way to helping you establish the new cultural expectations.
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