Every April, InfoMart sets and works toward the goal of improving our organization, our processes, and the general cleanliness of our daily working space during our Spring Cleaning Month. We clear away any cobwebs or dust on windowsills and take a vacuum to those hard-to-reach corners of the floors, but we also use this time to thoroughly assess and streamline our whole organization.
From the furniture to the ceiling fans and the paper files to the digital, every organization can fall victim to dust and clutter. That’s why it’s important to give your employees a full month each year to focus on cleaning up both their physical space and their digital one. Getting rid of the unnecessary can help people better organize what is necessary and improve productivity.
Cleaning Physical and Digital Spaces
The physical areas that collect the most mess and disorganization in the office tend to be community areas like the filing, copy, and supply rooms, and individual spaces like desks and drawers. In the intangible space, email mailboxes and computer desktops are often the most cluttered areas. Focus on these areas to encourage better organization and higher productivity in your staff:
Filing is one of those daily tasks that tends to get the rush treatment, and there’s a good chance that old or useless files never make it out. Use Spring Cleaning Month to get your staff to go through their files and remove those they no longer need. Have staff go through all filing cabinets and throw away anything that is outdated and/or the useless and unnecessary materials.
2. Copy and Supply Rooms
Copy and supply rooms hold a lot of the things we need or use on a daily basis and can get messy or disorganized the longer we stock, use, and restock our inventory. Once a year, take inventory of all your supplies, including paper, pens, and any promotional items or tailored collateral. You may be surprised to find out how many staplers and pens have been hiding in the back of your office drawers.
It’s amazing how much stuff can end up clogging your folders and hard drive if you don’t organize your computer frequently. At any given point in time, my “Download” folder can house a handful of items to hundreds of files, many of which I may never look at again. Spring Cleaning Month is the perfect time of year to go through your hard drive and organize or clear out files that are otherwise useless to you.
The same goes for email; it’s just so easy to get bogged down by it all. Even if you consistently sort things into folders for later perusal, the fact is that sometimes there’s just not enough time to read everything. Set aside time in Spring Cleaning Month to encourage your employees, and yourself, to unsubscribe to rarely-read newsletters and delete those one-word email replies.
Physical desktops can collect a lot of dirt and dust throughout the year, especially if they’re not cleaned and de-cluttered regularly. Dirty desk spaces can be breeding grounds for bacteria and disorganized work spaces can lead to employees missing deadlines or even losing work. Tidy desks can contribute to better health and productivity in your workplace.
- Clean the desktop thoroughly and reorganize to accomplish an all new view of your desk.
- Disinfect phones, buttons on printers, calculators, office supplies, and anything that you touch regularly.
- Clean out each drawer, making sure to throw away trash and clear out crumbs or dust.
- Collect unused or unnecessary items from your desk and organize them in the supply room for others to take as needed.
- Go through the stack of magazines and articles you’d planned to read. If you still want to read an article, tear it out of the magazine and recycle the book, thus reducing the size of your reading stack.
- Don’t forget to tackle any stacks or boxes of material that’s ended up under your desk.
- Combine all your written and digital to-do lists and update tasks.
Remember teamwork and recycling
I find that working in teams helps you stay on task and avoid distraction so you can accomplish more cleaning and organizing in a shorter period of time. Teamwork also gives you an opportunity to handle lingering projects or paperwork that may require others’ input or handiwork. Projects and tasks you unearth during Spring Cleaning can be handled immediately since your team is already together.
While you and your workforce are doing all this cleaning, remind everyone that many kinds of trash can be recycled, such as old magazines, boxes, napkins, and plastic ware. However, remember that everyone should be using secured document destruction processes on any confidential and/or proprietary paperwork that gets tossed.
Annual cleaning is a must for any business, and springtime presents a perfect opportunity to encourage your whole workforce to participate. Engaging your employees in contributing to clean, well-organized work spaces can help them do their best work, which improves your bottom line.