Cleanliness may be next to godliness but it’s a lot easier said than done.
Now, more than ever, office managers are concerned about how to keep their office tidy. Whether it’s because open-office floor plans have led to lax office trash patrols or tight budgets result in fewer professional cleanings, there are thousands of offices across the country that could benefit from a deep cleaning.
However, the end goal isn’t to have a great cleaning company – it’s to keep your office so organized you rarely ever need a professional to come in and get the job done.
We’ve done some research and found some excellent ways you can keep your office clean, including organization tips and advice on how to integrate HR into your office hygiene system.
Keeping Your Office Tidy Tip #1: Desk Items Should Be Necessities
This is a great tip we found from a recent Forbes article about keeping your office tidy.
Most of our workspaces reflect our personality and our preferences. For example, the guy next to you may keep on his desk a continually half-full coffee mug he bought during the 2007 work trip to Orlando.
While the mug is a nice reminder of what went down in Central Florida, it doesn’t serve much purpose aside from taking up space on the desk and leaving a few ring stains.
“Boxes of pens, stacks of papers and old coffee cups need to go,” the Forbes article said. “Instead, rid your desk of visual clutter by paring down on the items on top to the essentials only.”
Keeping Your Office Tidy Tip #2: Use the One-Touch Paper Strategy
Paper is a huge culprit against clean and tidy office spaces. Even in the age of email, you can stroll through any workplace and find stacks of the stuff on nearly every desk.
If you were to judge by most of the desks in America, you’d have a hard time believing that business isn’t done on paper.
To combat this tide of clutter, use the one-touch rule: Every piece of mail, invoice or fax is allowed to be touched once. After that, either file it or throw it away. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to say goodbye to that mildly interesting junk mail or latest office memo.
In most cases, your documents only require one read-through. The more important information can be stored in a file cabinet or scanned.
Having a hard time saying goodbye to things? Lifehack CEO Leon Ho says it’s common:
“People tend to keep more things because they believe that some day in the future, these things will be useful or gain value. This is right to an extent. These items, especially ones with emotional memories, are not trash, but whether or not these things are useful for their owners is a question.”
A quick way to determine whether an item needs to be stored or thrown away is to ask yourself how often you use it and when you used it last. If there isn’t a significant cost associated with tossing it, then move ahead with your cleaning.
Keeping Your Office Tidy Tip #3: Get HR to Help
One of the easiest ways to keep a consistent cleaning schedule is asking HR to help.
According to a recent Monster article, your human resources department can be the lynchpin of your office’s commitment to tidiness.
Work with HR to come up with twice-a-year deep cleans – the kind that gets all those hidden spots you wouldn’t normally tidy up when you’re pushing a desk-by-desk cleaning program.
Use this time to make your common areas shine: clean out the fridge, put the finishing touches on your coffee station and give the cabinets and cupboards a good once-over.
A motivational twist on this HR-led initiative could be splitting up the office into areas and awarding free lunch or cool prizes for the cleanest area.
Keeping Your Office Tidy Tip #4: Keyboards and Screens
These final suggestions for keeping your office looking good is a trio of tips we learned from a rather useful Buzzfeed post on cleaning tricks.
The reason we think these tips are so important is that dirty keyboards and computer screens are almost instantly recognizable to people who walk by your desk. While coffee mugs and a few crumbs may get some passively disappointed looks from the resident clean freak, a dirt-stained keyboard and fingerprint-laden screen draw the disgust of the masses:
- Clean your keyboard keys with a Magic Eraser, but make sure you’re smart about how much water you use because you don’t want liquid dripping beneath your keys.
- Use a Sticky Note’s stick side to run between keys and grab any extra dirt, lint or crumbs.
- Clean your screen with a mildly moist microfiber cloth.
Wrapping it Up: Keeping Your Office Tidy Takes Patience and Persistence
Dirt and clutter is like an angry mob pushing against the doors of your office: They want to get in and wreak havoc.
The key to keeping these forces at bay is a set schedule of cleaning integrated with simple cleaning steps:
- Only keep necessities on your desk
- Adopt a one-touch policy with paper
- Get HR involved
- Keep keyboards and screens clean
Believe it or not, office planning and furniture systems play a role in the visual aspect of orderliness. Mismatched color schemes and old panels, desks and chairs can make even the cleanest workspaces seem dull and lackluster.
Stop by our office furniture page to get ideas for how you can upgrade your office’s visual continuity.