We are in worrying times at the moment. There is a lot of uncertainty, both personally and professionally, surrounding the state of the nation’s health and where we will be in the coming months so perhaps we should take five minutes focus on the positives while we can.
It is March and Spring is on its way, conjuring up images of daffodils swaying in the breeze, petals on tulips opening to receive the sun’s warmth and if you are anything like this particular author, Spring cleaning!
We don’t have to limit Spring cleaning to our homes as it can be a very useful exercise in the workplace as well. It prepares us for the remainder of the year with a tidy mind and a clean work environment. Many offices have the luxury of cleaners but think about the small mountain of paperwork that is currently hidden in your pedestal, or the cupboard under the sink in the breakout area; they definitely need attending to! And whilst it doesn’t all have to be done in one go, it could be a great team building exercise if everyone downs tools, puts on their rubber gloves and gets stuck in. Perhaps there could even be an incentive for a good job well done? I know this office loves a rewarding pizza!
So how to would you do it?
In the first instance, make sure you have the resources to carry out a decent spring clean. Check that the recycling bins are empty and ready to receive, ensure that there are plenty of cleaning supplies and bin bags and send out an email to all employees outlining what the activity is hoping to achieve and any special instructions such as don’t dress to impress.
Start by asking everyone to focus on their own workstation as it the area they will be most familiar with it. Anything important that isn’t filed should be put in its rightful place; anything that isn’t important should be recycled or disposed of. Go through your drawers and get rid of anything that is broken, doesn’t have a purpose or has run out and make sure the items you use most often are within arm’s reach whilst working at your desk. This will increase productivity as you won’t need to scrabble around in the depths of your drawers to find items such as your calculator or sticky notes. While you are at your desk, your PC probably could also do with a bit of a detox – do you really need all those documents stored on your desktop? Chances are that they aren’t being backed up if not saved under the company folders and can you really afford to lose them if the worst was to happen? If you have technical know-how, you could also update your apps and operating system, cleanse / uninstall unused files and applications and clear caches and cookies from your internet browser. Finally, grab a cloth and wipe down your telephone, work surface, keyboard, mouse and chair using a suitable anti-bacterial spray.
Once the workstations are clean, everyone can focus on the communal areas of the office. Perhaps, break it down into teams and set a challenge to see who can complete their tasked area first. Areas to consider are the breakout / kitchen, meeting rooms, storage cupboards, reception and even outside if you are lucky enough to have an outdoor space. Throw away or recycle anything that is no longer required (although please do check how long you need to keep certain records for legal reasons), perhaps look at the furniture and the flow it creates to see whether it is necessary or could be repurposed in a different part of the office. Again, once everything is tidied, get your cloth and wipe down all the surfaces.
You should now be left with a lovely clean and workable office space. We can easily get bogged down by paperwork and clutter, creating piles of things to take care of immediately, what can wait and I’ll-never-get-round-to-that-in-a-million-years so a Spring clean can be a catalyst for a change in mindset, increasing productivity and positivity, and creates a sense of team. Choose a day when workload is likely to be light; Fridays are usually a good day. Encourage everyone to participate and make it a fun activity. The sense of achievement at the end will be well worth effort!