Spring-Cleaning for the Office

Although we probably all endured some version of spring-cleaning during our childhood, business owners and facilities managers may overlook the importance of this annual ritual in the workplace. Suffice it to say, it may be just as important (or more) for your business as it was for Mom.

The concept of spring-cleaning dates back to an ancient Persian new-year ritual known as “shaking the house,” to prepare for the coming year. In the 19th century, Americans practiced this custom to make sure that the home was cleaned thoroughly at least once a year, since the handy invention of the vacuum cleaner was still about a hundred years hence. The purpose of cleaning in conjunction with spring was that it was warm enough to throw open the windows and doors so that the resulting dust could be carried away on the breeze.

Most offices have some kind of regular cleaning services, but those typically involve a surface level of service that may include vacuuming, trash removal, and the dusting of common area surfaces. What isn’t done on a regular basis, however, can add up to a mess that leaves your office looking less than top-notch.

At least once a year, office carpets should be deep cleaned or shampooed. Hard floor surfaces should be thoroughly cleaned of spots and scuffs and, if appropriate for the floor surface, possibly even stripped and refinished. Rubber cove base should be wet cleaned with an appropriate product and thresholds need cleaning and checking for security and safety. If any other floor issues exist (loose carpeting, missing or cracked tiles, etc.), now is the time to make those repairs. Winter can be brutal on your office floors, and spring is the time to give them the attention they deserve.

Individual desks, offices, and workstations tend to accumulate clutter over the year as busy employees strive to keep up with their workload. As much as your employees may grumble, ask each person to set aside a couple of hours to organize their workspace so that it can be thoroughly cleaned. After a brutal cold and flu season, the use of an antibacterial cleaning product may improve everyone’s health and well-being. (Don’t overlook office phone receivers and keypads, as these are also big germ collectors!) If employees eat at their desks, make sure they tend to crumbs and wrappers that can accumulate in and under computer keyboards and on the floor around trash receptacles.

How about that office kitchen? If they had a contest for dirtiest office kitchen, many companies would be in the running for that title. Spring is a perfect time to do a wholesale purge of food items in the refrigerator and left-behind containers that clutter up office kitchen cabinets. Moving the fridge to clean behind and underneath is necessary, and a thorough cleansing of interior refrigerator shelves and drawers may be long overdue.

Then we have everyone’s favorite gathering spot, the conference room. Tables, chairs, cabinets, and other conference room furniture should be thoroughly dusted, cleaned, and disinfected, along with phones and other equipment. The same goes for other common space such as file rooms, copy centers, and the dreaded (and often off-limits) server and equipment rooms. Any window coverings or drapes need cleaning in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

The good news is that, unlike the Mom days, there are professional cleaning companies that can handle all these tasks for you… and probably recommend some added services that will save you time, money, and hassle over the coming year. Many companies offer spring-cleaning package specials, too. Consider treating your office space to a fresh start this spring and you may be surprised at the increase in employee productivity and good health!

Jill Smith is a writer with a vast array of subject matter expertise. Along with publishing articles for large and small businesses, she researches, writes and publishes reports on various public policy issues.

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