[This article was written by Dawn Castell.]
You’ve finally got your new office or storefront up and running. The furniture’s been purchased, the tech is set up, and the break room freezer has been stocked with snacks. How do you keep your fresh, pristine work environment from ending up like so many old, cluttered work spaces? The answer is a combination of planning, organization, and mindfulness.
Don’t Keep Unusable Equipment
As an employer, it can be really difficult to throw away something you’ve spent the business’s budget on. A lot of workplace clutter ends up being items that you can’t use anymore – a box of flyers from an old event, a broken fax machine that is ostensibly around “for parts”, or an old phone that still works but doesn’t match the other models in the office. Your new business hasn’t accumulated these items yet, but after a few years of steady work, you’ll be surprised at what junk items are in the office closets.
Every replacement comes out of your budget, so it makes sense to keep things that still work. But unless you have a fax machine repairman on your staff, don’t save repair projects that aren’t in anyone’s job description. These kinds of items can build up over time, and end up taking all of your under-the-counter space. If it’s broken or outdated, throw it away immediately, and you’ll never build up a mess that you have to spend labor costs to clean.
If you have broken technology, make sure you dispose of it properly. Old electronics often need to be recycled, especially if they contain a toxic substance in the battery or as a cooling agent. You don’t want toxic items hanging around your office either, so take care of the recycling process right away.
Use Off-Site Storage
Storage units are a simple solution for items that you need to keep but don’t have room for. Extra space means you can store all of your backup items, from additional pieces of office furniture to bulk amounts of store inventory. Instead of having boxes of promotional pamphlets stacked against one of your office walls, you can put them away in storage and keep your environment looking professional.
Once you have access to a storage facility, don’t forget to insure the equipment you keep there. Regular insurance plans for homeowners and businesses may only cover items stored off-site for up to 10% of your total coverage. Your specific coverage may vary, but you should check with your agent to make sure your plan will cover everything inside your unit.
Keep up with Maintenance
Small problems turn into big problems when left unattended, and this is especially true for your workplace. When you notice something in your business isn’t working quite right, don’t wait until the situation is drastic. The price of a consultation and a quick fix now is often a lot cheaper than waiting for something to actually break and need to be replaced. This can apply to anything from your actual equipment to an issue with the break room sink; if it comes out of the budget, you’ll probably save money by fixing it early.
A good way to keep your equipment in working condition is to inspect it regularly. It’s also a smart idea to inspect your building to make sure you aren’t developing safety issues. OSHA requests that safety inspections occur “as needed,” so you have plenty of flexibility based on your form of business. Equipment and safety inspections can be tied in with inventory procedure or even just regular office cleaning. The goal is to make workplace maintenance a part of your business’s normal routine, and keep everything from office technology to the building itself in good condition.
The easiest way to keep your workplace looking nice is to take care of it. Attend to any maintenance issues, and take time to regularly clean and de-clutter. The extra effort you put into maintaining the environment will have a direct impact on your employee’s moods, the way your clients see you, and the way you see your own work.