Spring cleaning is a phrase that is usually relegated to the home, but it is just as relevant to the well-being, productivity and future of a small business or a large corporation.
Spring cleaning is the practice of cleaning a home from top to bottom, especially after long hard winters in colder climates. This process not only removes stagnant energy from a closed-up house in the winter and eliminates any leftover germs, improving the health of the family, but also removes clutter, making way for new energy and prosperity to enter. In the workplace, spring cleaning can be any kind of heavy duty office cleaning, painting, organizing or getting business affairs in order.
Improve performance by spring cleaning your personal workspace: The reason for spring cleaning a business, especially your personal workspace, is simple. When you clean up, get rid of clutter and organize, you eliminate chaos and disorganization and replace it with effectiveness and improved performance.
Begin with your personal workspace. Is it clean, efficiently laid out and clutter free? Are there stacks of files to get to, magazines to read? Is only 20 percent of your desk visible and is your email inbox over flowing? Discard and de-clutter what you don’t need and organize the rest so you can access it at a moment’s notice.
When you enter your workspace or sit at your desk, whether in the corner office or a cubicle, you need to see 80 percent of it clean and clutter free so you can work at peak performance. The same rule of thumb applies to your desk. You cannot be effective if you are constantly distracted by paperwork, pictures and mounds of clutter piled high on your desk, on tables or in boxes on the floor.
Apply the same cleaning and de-cluttering process to your computer. Your desktop screen should have 80 percent or more of the screen surface empty so you don’t begin the day feeling overwhelmed, distracted and behind. Delete and discard anything not used regularly and organize the rest for efficient use. By taking these steps in your personal workspace environment, you will experience a boost in performance and will be able to face the larger task of engaging the workforce to do the same in the shared workplace environment.
Improve productivity by spring cleaning the workplace environment: The reason for spring cleaning the business workplace environment is also simple. When you clean and improve the workplace environment you engage the workforce, improve their productivity, their loyalty and their retention, which improves your profitability.
In this case you need to engage the workforce’s participation first by showing them the benefits spring cleaning process. They will feel better while on the job and tasks will be easier for them to do because everything is organized. They will reduce their stress and anxiety levels because they will be able to find everything they need at a moment’s notice; and because everything is in its place, they will be more productive — which in turn makes the business more profitable and potentially insures the company’s sustainability and their jobs.
While the shared office space can be a much larger project than your personal workspace, you would attack it the same way.
- Discard and de-clutter to eliminate chaos – file it, store it, organize it or get rid of it – hallways and walkways are not storage areas where stacks of boxes should be stored
- Scrub floors, shampoo carpeting and paint walls a calm color – cleanliness makes everyone feel better about being there eight hours or more per day
- Check all equipment to make sure it is working properly, and fix anything that needs to be repaired or replaced – the workforce will be more efficient
- Make sure workstations and regularly used supplies are in close proximity, so less time is lost and efficiency increases
- Share the 80 percent rule and encourage employees to maintain their workspace and desktop a “clutter free zone”
- Together make a list of all of the other things that can be done in the workplace to make it a more pleasant place to work
- Don’t limit this process to just spring – put it on the calendar to review every four to six months and repeat as needed but at minimum, annually
Another important tool is to lead by example. If you can do spring cleaning in your workspace and maintain it, they can do the same and your organization will benefit from increased productivity and profitability.
Pat Heydlauff speaks from experience. She works with organizations that want to create an environment where employees are engaged, encouraged and involved, and with people who want to be in control, anxiety-free and confident. She is the author of the forthcoming book, Engage: How to Lead with Power, Productivity and Promise and Feng Shui: So Easy a Child Can Do It. She can be reached at 561-799-3443 or engagetolead.com.