Maintaining a clean workspace is a challenging task for most owners of business premises. During the day, the amount of rubbish generated even by a handful of staff can mount up. In the main, most people are willing and do clean up their space after them, be it a desk, workshop or another personal work area.

However, perhaps the more significant challenge and one which seems a monumental uphill struggle is an office communal space. For some reason, that area tends to be a kind of ‘no man’s land’ where there seem to be no rules and no responsibility. A general apathy towards cleaning the communal area appears to set in.

One has to wonder why that is.

A good impression

Employees and contractors on site seldom think about the impression made upon visitors if the communal space is in a bit of a state. Dirty plates and cups left in the sink, tea and coffee stain rings on tables and work surfaces and worse, undefined stains on the carpet will not leave a good impression on visitors.

The thinking of the visitor, it may be a potential customer, may be one of ‘poor hygiene, poor service’ – that may not be the case but is it worth taking that chance? However, there are ways and means to clean the mess and maintain a standard of hygiene that anyone should reasonably expect in their work environment. You have to be transparent with what you want to happen and let everyone feel responsible for the communal area.

Create a clear policy

People in the main like order and continuity. Human nature being what it is, change is not a welcome bedfellow. People need rules and guidance; the same is correct about managing, maintaining and cleaning up communal areas.

There should be strict rules when it comes to cleaning dishes and cutlery. Everyone should be responsible for cleaning up their mess. Setting down rules should go some way to making those members of staff who shirk their cleaning responsibility feel guilty if they have slackened off somewhat. Ultimately the goal is for them to take responsibility to maintain a reasonable standard of hygiene and cleanliness in the communal area.

From the very start, there should be a set of rules. The suggestions below are not clear-cut or set in stone, merely examples of how a reasonable, fair and responsible cleaning regime can be set up and staff adhere to it.

• Set a rota for washing up, sweeping, emptying the bin

• Make individuals responsible for specific tasks on that rota

• Have a checklist to sign and date when cleaning is completed

• Offer an incentive for cleaning to one member of staff

Collective responsibility is a difficult regimen to instil in a team or group of employees, but persistence will pay off. Start off as you mean to go on if the business or set up is new, that way everyone will know where they stand from day one.

Reward everyone for a great job

If everyone helps in cleaning the communal space and maintaining it, you may want to reward them. For instance, you can buy a new coffee, treat the team to a nice lunch somewhere or order in lunch on a set day of the month. This is not necessarily the type of motivation that adults should be given, but it does help a lot. Psychology is an excellent tool if used appropriately.

Alternative solution

You really can’t afford to allow the communal space to become grubby as you might have guests coming over. If getting your staff to pull their weight seems too much trouble, might cause resentments or is just unworkable, get in professional cleaners to do the job.

Expert cleaners will be able to come in daily or weekly to maintain and keep the area clean. They will have the right tools and equipment necessary for cleaning. They will also have experience and the know-how when it comes to cleaning commercial spaces.

The communal area must be the shared responsibility of all employees. Everyone must do their share to keep the place clean. However, there is nothing wrong with hiring someone to do the job or to back up. A clean work environment is generally a happy environment – you’ll want to try and keep it that way.

You want the place to be clean. You can budget for such a service, and of course, you can put it through the accounts as a legitimate business expense. You can hire cleaning companies to do the work which you and your employees do not have the time for or, let’s face it, don’t want to do.

Check out https://www.regionalservices.co.uk/ for more information on cleaning services available and how much you have to spend for this service.

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