Spring Cleaning in the Office

Spring cleaning is one of those chores that generally falls into two categories: Either you look forward to it with great enthusiasm and set aside an entire weekend to get it done, or you have every intention of “finally getting all that stuff out of the basement” and make a half-hearted attempt that sort of gets the worst out but really doesn’t leave you much more organized than when you started. Bear in mind that everyone’s office space can probably use a good spring cleaning as well, and it goes way beyond what dedicated office maintenance workers already do. Plus, a good cleaning can declutter a lot more than just the desk.

  • Many of us overuse email for easy correspondence or hang onto old emails “just in case.” So if your employees tend to clean out their folders only when they get that email warning them they’re almost at capacity, you may want to encourage them to take some time (possibly a couple of hours if they have to sort through hundreds of messages) to figure out which ones they truly need to keep and which ones can go into the Trash permanently. Suggest that employees set up folders for certain quarters or important clients to clear out the inbox and have them go through and cull out what’s not needed (do you really need to keep every email associated with that nine-person chain, or just the most recent one that has all of the old messages within it?). More organized email means the important ones won’t get lost.
  • The same goes for files — unless it’s in a shared drive where employees don’t have permission to delete, give them time to go through their old online files to see what’s still relevant and what’s simply taking up memory and eye space. Again, suggest that they organize according to year/month/project/client as necessary. By doing so, they’ll reap two major benefits: 1) They’ll clear out old and obsolete documents, thus making newer and more important ones easier to find. 2) They’ll update their files and potentially see where new opportunities may arise — a cleaned up desktop and files may lead to fresh new ideas as well.
  • Oftentimes a workspace mirrors a person’s state of mind. The employee who lets files and papers pile up on their desk may seem stressed because they can’t find what they really need, which affects their state of mind and the quality of their work. Give them time to clean up their space — and suggestions on how to do so. There’s no “one best way,” as what works perfectly for one employee may not for another. Even the creative folks who revel and thrive in a sort of stylized mess will benefit from clearing out some of the clutter.

Allowing employees time to spring clean implies you want your office to run smoothly so you think it’s important enough to put aside time during the workday to do it, and want employees to feel a shared sense of accomplishment. For more management or hiring tips, read our related blogs or reach out to the California workforce management professionals at PrideStaff Thousand Oaks.