As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to maintain a safe and healthy working environment for your employees. It’s not just about improving productivity and efficiency—although these are crucial elements of growth and success—but also about complying with the law. After all, under the HSWA 2015, the business has the primary responsibility for the health and safety of their workers and other people at risk from the work conducted by the business.
One of the key things that help ensure a safe and healthy workplace is cleanliness. When everything’s clean and orderly, there’s less risk of both injury and illness. Your employees will also be more comfortable and confident in doing their jobs.
Of course, to maintain cleanliness in the workplace, everyone has to be aligned. In short, it’s necessary to have continuing conversations about it to ensure its success. Here are some things that can help you get the ball rolling when it comes to discussions about cleanliness:
Write a Cleanliness Policy
In order to enforce cleanliness and establish a culture of it, you’re going to need a policy. This allows you to express your intentions and set expectations early on. This, in turn, helps make your goals easily appreciable.
Your cleanliness policy should include desk and personal workspace maintenance, as well as hygiene standards. There should also be separate cleanliness policies for common workspaces, waste management, and even resource conservation (e.g., printing documents, electricity consumption, etc.).
Don’t delve into the details yet, however; your cleanliness policy should be your overarching principles. Meanwhile, the details of the actual cleaning should be included in your cleaning plan.
Develop a Cleaning Plan
When you say that “cleaning” will be a part of every employee’s tasks, it can feel too vague. What are they supposed to clean? How much should they clean? By developing a cleaning plan, things will be a lot clearer and thus easier to follow. The topic of cleanliness also becomes easier to discuss.
For your cleaning plan, it’s important to have a chore list. There should also be cleaning priority levels, so your employees know which ones they should focus on. Include how-to’s, especially for tasks that require the use of specialised products like disinfectants, to ensure the best results.
Lastly, create a list of who is responsible for cleaning what; there should also be a point-person who can enforce the cleaning plan.
Hire Professional Cleaners
Of course, you can’t count solely on your employees to maintain the cleanliness of your office. For more thorough cleaning, it’s best to hire professional cleaners. This is especially true if you have areas and things in the office that require more attention, such as carpets, floor-to-ceiling glass windows, and specialised equipment.
What’s even better about hiring professional cleaners is that they can share with you some tips on how to more effectively handle day-to-day cleaning. This way, they can focus on both their work duties and cleaning tasks.
Make Cleaning Up Easy to Do
It’s easier to talk about cleanliness and cleaning up at work if it’s actually possible to keep things neat, clean, and hygienic. How can you establish a culture of cleanliness—thus making it normal to talk about topics relating to it—if your workplace doesn’t make cleanliness accessible?
Making this happen is all a matter of providing what your employees need to maintain cleanliness. For example, in the washroom, provide multiple bottles of liquid soap, as well as a steady supply of toilet paper and paper towels. For your women employees, keep a stock of feminine hygiene products.
For general cleaning purposes, a couple of mops, brooms, and dustpans should always be handy. A vacuum cleaner would be nice but not absolutely needed. There should also be a few cleaning cloths on hand for mopping up small spills and dusting. Meanwhile,
In some workplaces, there’s only one sanitiser that you can find in the washroom. To make the work environment work hygienic, provide hand sanitisers, cleaning wipes, and tissues to your employees.
The key here is to get your employees used to the idea of a clean office and impress upon them their role in health and safety through cleanliness.
Post Signs and Reminders
One of the biggest enemies of cleanliness in the workplace is forgetfulness. Again, cleaning tasks are not technically part of an employee’s job responsibilities. Still, it’s necessary if you want to ensure optimal working conditions.
If you’re getting tired of constant verbal reminders, perhaps posting signs could nudge your employees in the right direction. Place these signs in strategic areas and especially in common spaces like the bathroom, dining area, and meeting rooms. You can even post reminders near copy machines and printers.
The point of having conversations about cleanliness within your organisation is to emphasise that an employee’s responsibility extends beyond their job description. Ensuring the welfare of everyone in the workplace is part of this responsibility, and you can do this in part through cleanliness.