“Spring Cleaning” In The Workplace

March 2021

March is the month that most people think of spring cleaning in their homes. Now, they may
not get around to it, but they think about it! Have you ever thought about spring cleaning in
your workplace? Not literally cleaning up, organizing things, or rearranging furniture – though
that is not a bad idea. Have you considered allowing this time to review, organize, edit,
develop, reignite, and refresh your office and the larger workplace? We try to do this with New
Year but rarely get around to creating written goals for the new year. So perhaps springtime is
an appropriate to “clean up.”

Here are a few ideas of how to conduct spring cleaning in the workplace. By the way, this is not
just for supervisors and managers but for everyone to be involved. Talk about it with staff, or it
may be that an employee takes the lead to rejuvenate the workplace.

• Let us go ahead and talk about the literal spring cleaning in the office. Is it time to clean up
your email, electronic files, hard copy file or even your desk drawers? Is it time to take some
records and papers to storage in another office or room? What about your priority system?
Can you use a better system in the office? Something as simple as the A, B, C, and D system
is a great way for everyone to get on the same page. A sticky note on a hardcopy document
or written email is marked with an A for top priority to be completed that day. B is for
items that need to be completed during the particular work week. C is for things that are to
be finished within two weeks and D is for those things that may be completed within the
given month. Of course, as one week ends, you simply move all items to the next A, B, C or
D priority. An organized office will help you be more efficient and productive, for obvious
reasons. If you know where everything is, you will not have to waste any time fumbling
around. But there is more to it than that. A clean space is inspiring and that helps you to be
at your best. If you want to be able to accomplish more in less time, this process is for you.

• Staying with the area of typical spring cleaning, is it time to refresh the office with new
furniture, flower arrangements, pictures/art, or flooring? What about a new paint color?
Do we realize how much of our inspiration is linked to the environment in which we work?
Even temperature, air quality, lighting and noise conditions in the office affect the work
concentration and productivity. Numerous studies have consistently demonstrated that
characteristics of the physical office environment can have a significant effect on behavior,
perceptions, and productivity of employees.

• It may be time to refresh the mission, vision, and values of the organization. Perhaps it is
time to expound on these areas via email, meeting, or town hall. Keeping people’s minds
focused on your mission and where your company wants to go is important to productivity,
performance, and priorities. Reevaluating whether our actions, services, conversations, and
relationships live up to the company’s core values is another area to consider. Are we truly walking out the values which were stated as important for our company to emulate and be
known for?

• Spring is also a great time to review our policies and procedures. Whether they are
employee handbooks or operational manuals, reviewing how relevant and current the
information is can lead to increased performance and productivity. Immediately managers
and human resources may think this is just another task to complete. Have you thought
about assigning a committee of employees to review each set of policies or procedures? It
not only gets employees engaged but also leads to greater buy in to the policies and

• Is it time to review the strength of your open and transparent communication in the office?
Massive communication from leaders to employees is the strength of organizations today.
You can never communicate too much. I am not saying to share confidential information,
but all of us can use encouragement to communicate more. Let employees know what is
going on in the company – even financially. Let them know about events, programs, and
committees with which they can assist or even lead. Leaders need to remember to be open
to communication from employees also. Of course, this takes vulnerability to discuss ways
the organization can be improved but often answers are right there with employees. After
all, they are the ones doing the work. Talk to employees about changes that will take place
and keep them abreast each step of the way through the change effort. Supervisors should
be meeting with each employee at least monthly in an individual conversation to talk about
the employee’s achievements and concerns. This is a good time to receive ideas and
suggestions from employees about work areas and processes.

• Lastly, it is time to inspire or rejuvenate you workforce. Are your employees happy?
Inspired? Enthusiastic? Passionate about work and the organization? Do they feel valued?
These are the components of engagement. Do your supervisors empower employees to
work autonomously yet remain accountable for the results? Take the temperature of your
culture by conducting anonymous surveys about employee engagement. Then make
needed changes with the business to improve the culture where the entire company is all in
as a collaborative team, committed to the mission and vision and ready to set productivity
on fire.

March is a great time to do some spring cleaning. The weather is warming up, the plants and flowers are growing. Research shows that this time of year is when people gain a renewed
hope and excitement for life after a sometimes cold and deary winter. Take advantage of the
time and add this warmth and light to your organization.

Sharleen Smith photo

Sharleen Smith
Director, Continuing Education and Outreach
Troy University                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           334-983-0005