Dealing with messy communal areas

Most workplaces will have a communal area. Somewhere for employees to take their break, eat their lunch and make a drink. It’s common for issues to arise when many people share a space such as this. Some people will be more fastidious about hygiene and cleanliness than others. Keeping this area clean can cause bad feeling and grumbles in the workplace, with some doing more than their fair share of the clean-up.

A 2010 survey by OfficeTeam found that 44% of employees admitted to making a mess that was left to others to sort out and this being the number one grumble for most annoying employee break room behaviour. Many people just don’t see it as their responsibility to tidy up a communal area.

It is such an issue that it can create negative feelings in the workplace environment. A grubby and disorganised communal space makes staff miserable, which is bound to impact on their productivity too. Ideally, they should be focusing on the job at hand and not spending time moaning about the state of the break room.

Here is what you can do about it:

  1. Create a policy

You need to set specific guidelines for your employees to follow to improve standards:

  • Put all rubbish in bins provided
  • Provide wipes for employees to wipe surfaces once used
  • Wipe the microwave after use
  • Only sealed food to be placed in the fridge
  • Washing up is an individual responsibility – do not leave dirty plates and cutlery in the sink
  1. Let everyone know

It’s no good having a fantastic policy if nobody is aware of it. Put some signs up in the communal space, announce the plans at a team meeting and/or send a team e-mail. For those who complain, remind them of the risks of bacteria and provide polite but regular reminders.

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  1. Hire a professional

Modern businesses don’t often have the time to invest in cleaning rotas and some employees will argue it’s not in their contract or job description. You want to pay your staff to do what they were hired to do and that’s not cleaning. Hiring a Gloucester Office Cleaning company to carry out all the tasks mentioned above will be a weight off your mind. Not only will the office and communal space be clean, it will be sanitised and hygienic too. Your happy and healthier staff will thank you for it.

  1. Find a champion for the cause

Usually there is one person in every workplace who loves taking control of a project and having some responsibility. You probably already know who this person is, so get them onside helping you to enforce the new guidelines and encouraging staff to get on board with it.

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  1. Celebrate success

Even if you hire a cleaning team, employees should still understand the importance of cleaning up after themselves and following guidelines. When improvements are seen, it can be fun and motivating to reward that success. Perhaps treat your staff to a new coffee machine or a better class of biscuits!

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