An office is a shared space, which means that, through the collected efforts of everyone who works there, it should always be kept clean and tidy, right? Well, if you’ve ever worked at an actual office, then you already know that the opposite is true most of the time. The culprits are usually thoughts like “someone else will pick that up” or “I’m too busy to clean right now”, and if they sound familiar, even you might have gotten out of doing your part with one of those excuses.
Well, no more. While there are people whose very job is to leave any office completely spotless, that doesn’t mean that everyone else working there should just throw their trash behind their shoulder and forget about it. The following list contains quick-and-easy tips and hacks that will encourage all of your co-workers to act as a unit and promote collaborative workplace cleanliness (at least tidy enough while the janitorial crew arrives). Let’s get cleaning!
No one has to be that person with the “food messes”
Let’s just get it out there: Eating at your desk will inevitably leave a chaos of spills, crumbs, smudges and who knows what else. Most people working office jobs have done this, and we get that work just piles up too much sometimes and you can’t afford to take a full lunch break, but the truth is that by doing so, you’re helping germs (and even bugs) find sustenance. You and your co-workers have to make a rule of only eating in the kitchen at all times, even if it’s a quick lunch or a snack; we don’t have to tell you how hard it is to get breadcrumbs out of carpets, right?
Declutter your desks and work spaces at the same time
There’s a certain magnetic quality to a cluttered desk, isn’t there? Somehow it always ends up attracting even more stuff that we don’t really need and it piles up around us. Well, no more! Choose a day of the week (or whenever you can coordinate for everyone to have a lighter workload) and dedicate yourselves completely to decluttering the whole office, starting by everyone’s desks. Make three different piles: Things that you have to keep, things that need their own space, and the last one should be things that should be gone (this pile is usually at the bottom of a shredder or waste bin). Things from the first pile you get to keep, obviously, but the second one deserves its own filing cabinet, drawer, etc. Try to keep the office that way, don’t let the clutter come back for even a day!
Encourage the use of hand wipes and antibacterial
There are few environments where germs spread faster than inside an office. This is because there are way too many people handling the same things all day long; files, keyboards, doorknobs, handles, etc. You will all want to keep hand sanitizer in stock all the time, and place on the desks that most people pass when walking around the office. Disinfectant wipes are also very useful in offices because your team can use them to clean their office supplies and computers at the end of the day. This might seem like too much for some people at first, but you can explain to them that the rampant spread of germs, while not catastrophic, can help illnesses around the office much faster while using keeping your hands clean all day can put a stop to it fast and easy.
Everyone should clean the microwave after using it
Look, we know this can be a pretty contentious point for many offices, but it’s important that you’re all honest with yourselves: Not everyone has the same cleaning standards when it comes to using the microwave, but you should. Although bad smells are usually what causes arguments between co-workers, the problem of a dirty microwave goes beyond that, because no matter how small, any splatter or food residue that you leave in there gets old with time and it invites all sorts of germs and bacteria to live inside of it. This, of course, could potentially cause some nasty stomach problems for some unfortunate people, so the best compromise that your whole office can agree on is that, after each person uses heats up their food, they should wipe down the microwave. Not a deep clean, but enough to let the next person in line know that it’s clean and they should keep it that way too. Think of it as an office cleanliness policy.
Blow the dust away from your keyboard
Let’s talk about the inside of your keyboard: It’s filthy. Well, chances are that it is, anyway, because of all the dust and debris (among other less appealing things) that fall between the keys every day. This can be potentially dangerous to your health since you’re touching it all the time and whatnot. The best way to clean it up is to blow it all away using a can of compressed air (be careful not to blow all the dirt into your co-workers). Do this regularly or it the grime could get stuck inside, potentially affecting the functioning of your keyboard.