A truly great workplace culture is composed of many different facets, from the way you hire to the coffee you serve in the lunchroom—but the most important aspect is the workplace itself. In many ways, what your office looks like is a direct representation of your work culture. It’s the physical embodiment of your beliefs, your standards and your theories on how to treat your employees and run your business. And you don't want visitors to question any of that.
Who can think clearly and efficiently when they are hemmed in on all sides by stakes of looming files? Not only is it visually unpleasant, but clutter also has a subconscious effect of adding mental clutter.
One of my best clients is a business called Nurse Next Door, which provides home health care services. The first time I visited the company's office, I was shocked. There were boxes everywhere, stacks of files falling, drab colors, scratched and dented furniture; basically, it was not really the kind of environment people would not typically feel compelled to be productive in. The stakeholders weren’t slobs; they were just focused on running their rapidly growing business.
On my advice, Nurse Next Door endeavored to declutter and clean, and that tidiness has since become part of the company's business culture. Every Wednesday is now “Wasteless Wednesday,” with everyone pitching in to keep things looking clean and neat.
The change has been profound. The energy in the building is drastically better, employee’s moods have changed and more people can fit into the space without it feeling crowded. In fact, the owners had been looking into bigger offices before the clean up, but saw there wasn’t a need once all the clutter had been removed. The cleanup efforts were so successful that BC Business magazine named Nurse Next Door the best company to work for in British Columbia last year.
Keeping It in Perspective
Before you go labeling me as an obsessive-compulsive neat-freak, let me be clear that I am not suggesting you spend hours each day scrubbing. The idea is to keep the office free of unnecessary clutter–broken office equipment, old files, retired computers and anything that can be stored, donated or scrapped.
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