The people who work in a particular premises like to feel that they are well looked-after. And a big element of helping them attain that feeling is that their workplace is kept clean and presentable at all times.
Sadly, once standards in this area begin to slip, it can be the start of a downward spiral which can, ultimately, lead to performance standards by those workers also heading in the same direction.
The means by which this dilemma is tackled lies in the hands of the business itself. Many smaller enterprises choose to adopt a mixture of tactics, involving outside contract cleaners being brought in to carry out general duties.
But alongside this, they also instil in their workers a degree of responsibility for clearing up after themselves. Of course, in an ideal world, this would be self-governing, and not require any intervention to remind people of their duties. However, as with so many things in life, the theory is far removed from the practical reality.
People can quite easily either forget to - or perhaps even deliberately refuse to - clean up any mess they make, and in many cases it then takes a brave person who will point the finger of blame at the culprit. Instead, what most likely happens is that other people express their disgust at the mess left, but do nothing to clear it up.
So - as is so often the case - when everyone involved in a business is, or appears to be, too busy to clean up the mess they have made before others see it, the attitude spreads that it is acceptable to not clean up behind oneself. And in time, such things can even become a point of principle, causing friction among workers who, in most other ways probably get along quite well.
What this then means in general terms is that people realise that their efforts to instil a little pride in their environment will not have any effect - and so they will stop trying to do so.
Then, ultimately, a company boss will think that they have wasted their money on buying rubbish bins, vacuum cleaners and the consumable products used in cleaning - so they may well cut back on this spending - and so the cycle has the opportunity to continue.
There is no need to be obsessive about ensuring high standards of cleanliness in the workplace - but by everyone being encouraged to give some thought to and apply a little effort to maintaining work areas in a clean state - and being made aware of the benefits in terms of how a business is perceived by others, the benefits of taking a little time to clear away after themselves can be made all too evident.
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