If you work in an office or even just somewhere that has an open communal sink that all the employee’s use, you’ll be familiar with just how frustrating keeping it clean is. It’s an area you go to for half an hour to an hour a day to have a break and refuel for the afternoon shift – that 30 minutes or half an hour seems to go faster than at any other time of the day!
But when it comes to the end of your dinner break, and all you want to do is give your plates and what not a scrub down in hope of a quick getaway, you don’t want to be having to contend with a mountain high pile of food stained plates and utensils. Next thing you know someone is pointing the finger as to who the culprit is for the mess and its seemingly never any one particular persons ‘responsibility’.
It’s a simple thing that can send employees into a fit of rage after the morning graft. The negative mood can spread into their work and as a result their productivity levels can plummet – a study conducted in 2010 by OfficeTeam concluded that as high as 44% of were frustrated by the mess made by other co-workers in break rooms. That being said, we thought we’d provide some guidance as to what you can do in the office to make sure some stringent order is maintained in your workplace communal area. Time to start seeing that break room shining and employees walking out with smiles on their faces!
- Lay down the law
First thing is first; you need to let all the employees know the new policies that will be implemented and why it’s important. You can’t be nonchalant about your new break room rules.
Some employees may be less willing to give the cleaning maintenance a good go, but there’s definitely no way they’ll take notice unless you make it clear how big of an issue it is. The best way to do this is an initial form of bombardment with group emails and general notification in meetings. Then, just to hit home, a note plastered around the break room is a gentle reminder in the place that is the scene of the crime that a bit of tidying is required.
You could even put up some pictures of how you do and don’t want it to look. If you really want to get the message across, send some stats on the health issues that might be associated with not keeping the place clean!
- Set the ground rules
After everyone is aware that action needs to be taken in the break room, your next step is to let them know what needs to be done. Obviously this will have to be adjusted to whatever your office communal areas main issues are, but for general reflection.
- Don’t leave dirty dishes, cutlery or mugs in the sink. A quick 2 minute wash and put it back in its home. Simple enough!
- Wipe down the microwave after use. A problem that can be avoided if you also tell employees to cover up their food containers!
- Place all your rubbish in the bin. General hygiene and common sense really…
- Wipe down the surfaces after use. Not a lot to ask.
- Only store food in the fridge if it is adequately sealed. One of the major causes of food poisoning.
- Delegate the roles
Although the majority of employees will grimace at the thought of more work, there are however those who will always be looking to contribute to helping out. If you have any of those rare gems in your workplace, give them the odd job that needs to do to keep the area in good condition. It’ll be a good way to gauge who’s keen to progress at work, even if it’s just the little things they’re contributing to! Furthermore, it might also give the other employees a kick up the backside that they’re dong things that others aren’t – a little bit of competition and motivation!
- Bring in the experts
Another factor to consider is that your employees are less inclined to make the effort to clean communal areas if the rest of their workplace isn’t particularly clean. Of course, you could try and ask them to clean the communal areas with some of the tips we’ve provided, and then also keep the rest of the building clean, but that doesn’t seem to go down too well. If a duty is not listed in their job description, employees aren’t going to want to do it. Plain and simple. And, it’s obviously better for your employees to be doing what you’re paying them to do.
Hiring a contract commercial cleaning service like ourselves at unique clean can take care of all these issues and set the example. And that is of course with the additional cleaning services that can be provided which are completed to a top quality professional standard. The sanitisation treatment of offices which is featured as part of our services can also dramatically improve the hygiene of your working environment – meaning those workplace illnesses are dramatically reduced!
- Positive reinforcement
If it’s all going swimmingly well and your employees are abiding by your new communal area rules, a little bit of a reward is a great way to show how much you appreciate their efforts. It can be a small thing that remains connected to the communal area; a new range of nice coffee, some up end biscuits that everyone is fond of or even just some small requests they may have. It’s not a bad bonding exercise.