An untidy and disorganized workplace is not optimal for maximum production. Likewise, it neither presents a professional image nor allows workers to do what they do in a safe and healthy environment. Therefore, maintaining a clean and organized workplace is fundamental to any company’s success.
There are very definite rules OSHA holds companies to in this regard. But here’s the thing: many executive management teams are already familiar with the regulations. They know that the work environment needs to be clean and organized. They just don’t know how to pull it off.
We have some experience in this area, working diligently to keep all our plants clean and organized. Here are some of the things we found work for us. They may work for you, too.
1. Establish Clear Policies
The first thing we discovered in our journey to a clean and organized workplace is that clear policies need to be established. Why? Because everyone’s definition of ‘clean and organized’ is different. Management needs to decide on standards, then codify those standards in official company policies.
Once policies are established, workers have to be informed of them. So there is that component of education. It doesn’t hurt to remind staff of the policies on occasion. Gentle reminders every quarter or so keep the ideas of cleanliness and organization at the forefront of their minds.
2. Remind Employees of the Rationale
Speaking of educating employees about cleanliness and organization, it never hurts to remind them of the rationale behind your policies. Perhaps one of your reasons is the fact that visitors occasionally pass through workspaces. You do not want your guests to see messy areas, so you are asking employees to clean up after themselves. They may be more receptive to policies if they know the reasons behind them.
3. Designate Separate Waste Areas
It is pretty common for companies to deal with waste on a haphazard basis. Workers allow waste to accumulate within proximity to where they work, only calling maintenance to have it taken away when it becomes a problem. This is not the optimal way to deal with waste of any kind. A better way is to designate separate waste areas and require that all waste be left there.
Perhaps your company produces scrap plastic by way of production cutoffs, plastic purge, or even emptying plastic totes and buckets. We can buy all that scrap plastic from you. But between now and the day we arrive, it has to be stored somewhere. Create a separate, designated storage area so that the plastic waste doesn’t accumulate around workstations.
4. Make Cleaning a Daily Task
We have purchased industrial scrap plastic from many companies that have made daily cleaning a task for all employees. For example, consider an injection mold manufacturer that requires each employee to clean and organize their workstation twice daily: just before lunch and at the conclusion of their shift.
Cleaning and organizing workstations daily is a lot like cleaning your kitchen every time you cook. If you clean and organize at the conclusion of each task, you never end up with an accumulated mess that takes so much more effort to deal with. A little bit here and a little bit there keeps workspaces clean and organized without a lot of extra effort.
We know how difficult it can be to maintain a clean and organized workspace. But we also know that OSHA regulations demand it. If your company is struggling with cleanliness and organization, consider hiring a professional capable of coming in and helping you get things back on track.