How to Keep a Clean Office All Year Long

What if you could enjoy a clean office atmosphere without having to wait for a deep spring cleaning? Here's how to keep your office tidy all entire year.

You take pride in your company, and you want your workspace to be comfortable and clean when clients and guests arrive. What's more, your team will probably be more productive in an organized environment. But staying tidy is often easier said than done — especially when you and your employees are distracted by busy workdays.

Taking a few basic steps can help set the stage for a clean office. Follow these tips to keep things tidy year-round:

1. Set Ground Rules

Your workspace can stay clean if your staff understands what clean means to you. Every organization will have different rules, but if you're struggling to define what yours are, consider these two ground rules to get started:

  • Desks remain clutter-free. Desk space is often covered in work necessities and junk that accumulates over time. Encouraging a clean-desk environment helps you avoid an overall messy look when customers come into your space. Avoid being too draconian in your quest to be clutter-free: Prompt your employees to be tidy without patronizing them by encouraging a 15-minute "desk-cleaning time" on Friday before everyone goes home for the week.
  • Create clutter zones. In these out-of-the-way spaces, mess is allowed to build up. For example, make a shredding nook where people can shred business documents, plus a recycling space for them to stash non-confidential papers or other materials for future recycling. If some of your employees thrive on messiness to fuel their creativity, give them a nook where they can brainstorm or shape their ideas.

2. Assess Your Cleaning Company's Tasks

Your building's management company handles most typical tasks such as bathroom cleaning and trash removal, but don't make assumptions about what is covered. For example, you may assume the janitorial staff vacuums your carpets every week — but it's not actually in the contract and isn't getting done. Ask for a description of what they do and how regularly they do it (such as weekly or monthly). If some aspect of the work doesn't meet your standards, ask if you can add that to the list of tasks. If you have the freedom, you may even decide to find a new janitorial vendor the next time your contract comes up.

3. Organize Daily To-Dos

Most businesses have to do a bit of their own cleanup in communal areas, such as washing dishes and cleaning out the breakroom fridge. These are well-known causes of friction in many workplaces, so state clear guidelines for how to keep these areas clean. For example, hang up a sign stating your policy is that all employees wash their own dishes, and that the fridge gets cleaned out (with unclaimed leftovers thrown away) every Friday promptly at 5 p.m. In some offices, you may have to create a sign-up sheet in which you assign various tasks to employees on a rotating basis — for instance, running the dishwasher once at the end of the day, watering the plants in the entryway every morning, etc. Creating a regular schedule helps ensure that tasks are delegated fairly. Small businesses have plenty to keep them busy, but taking a few moments to ensure a clean office can have a big impact on the rest of your activities. Creating an organized approach to cleaning can make it a quick, easy part of your week.