The productivity of employees heavily relies on the work environment. That said, the ideal office is organized, well-lit, ergonomic, spacious, and, most importantly—clean. The last one is a must for obvious health and safety reasons, but it is also an important factor that affects employee productivity, motivation, and morale.
If your office is constantly dirty and unkempt, it’s either you lack maintenance or maintenance can’t keep up with your employees. The latter scenario is more challenging to address since it likely means that you will have to break some habits that your employees have—but it is not impossible.
Here are some employee habits that may be making your office dirtier than normal, as well as what you can do about them.
Eating at desks
No matter how careful your employees are, eating at their desks will likely lead to crumbs, stains, and food residue on the floors and on the desks themselves. A professional cleaning company can easily get rid of any food residue that lingers on your office carpets, but hiring one frequently for this purpose is never cost-effective.
Furthermore, eating at a desk is not good for one’s work-life balance. All employees should take proper breaks to eat their meals outside of their work area instead of eating lunch and working simultaneously. That said, discouraging employees from eating at their desks is not only a great way to promote work-life balance but also a means to keep messes at a minimum.
Misusing the microwave
For many offices, the microwave in the pantry is a haven for food splatters, spills, and an unfortunately healthy amount of bacteria. For this reason, the maintenance staff must clean out the microwave at least once or twice a week, depending on the number of employees that use the office pantry.
However, employees that are misusing the microwave are likely making it too dirty in between cleans. Aside from putting an additional burden on the maintenance staff, they may be inadvertently causing a health risk for other employees in the office. To avoid these problems, correct these practices as soon as possible:
- Microwaving uncovered containers
- Microwaving odorous food (e.g., fish, Brussel sprouts, cheese, etc.)
- Not cleaning up spills after use
- Placing food items directly on the microwave plate
- Heating nearly spoiled foods
- Using dirty or greasy containers in the microwave
Using disposable coffee cups
Disposable coffee cups are a staple at many offices, but they are unnecessary and add a significant amount of trash to the office. Not to mention that they are likely to cause coffee stains on surfaces and are very easy to tip over. Furthermore, they are often non-recyclable, which means they increase your company’s carbon footprint without really serving a valuable purpose.
Switching to mugs or tumblers is the best alternative to disposable cups. Containers with covers are even better! Apart from reducing the amount of trash in the office, you also get the benefits of minimizing expenses on office supplies and the company’s carbon footprint.
Not washing hands
While it is not in an employer’s place to police an employee’s hand hygiene, it is important to encourage proper handwashing in the workplace. Poor handwashing habits are not something that you can easily notice, but it’s best to assume that not all of your employees wash their hands properly—or frequently, at that.
Poor hand hygiene is not only unpleasant to think about—it can pose a real risk to your employee’s health. For instance, if someone in the office is sick and does not wash their hands properly, they are likely to pass on the illness to someone else through direct and indirect contact. In fact, one of the common reasons for an illness outbreak in a workplace is the lack of proper handwashing.
To promote better handwashing practices in the workplaces, make soap, paper towels, and hand sanitizer readily available; and put handwashing posters in the bathrooms. Employees are more likely to wash and sanitize their hands if they see visual reminders and have the right tools to do so, especially in the bathrooms, common areas, and the pantry.
Maintaining a clean office has a lot to do with promoting good habits within its employees and getting rid of the bad ones. While these are only some of the employee habits that contribute to the dirtiness of your office, kicking them to the curb can already make a big difference.