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National Service Alliance: Rules of Etiquette for Cleaning Open-Office Spaces
Charlotte, N.C. — Dec. 1, 2015 — Office spaces are changing. The days of one office for each staffer are fast disappearing, even on the executive level. For the most part, this is being done to help encourage teamwork and collaboration but without stifling individual creativity or freedoms.
Adjusting to the open office space, however, can take time, and applies as well to the cleaning professionals who must clean and maintain these locations.
"One of the very first issues to grapple with is that regular business hours are often out the window too," according to Tobi Colbert, director of membership services for the National Service Alliance (NSA). The alliance is a group purchasing organization for larger cleaning contractors.
Many companies with open office spaces no longer have 9-to-5 business hours. "Instead, there is a 'range' of work hours when staff is expected in the office," Colbert said. "But for cleaning professionals this can mean it's 'showtime anytime.' You never know what is happening in the office."
With this in mind, Colbert offers the following etiquette tips for those cleaning open space offices:
• Have set work hours. This tells open space staffers when they can expect you and encourages them to leave their work areas for a few minutes so you can perform your cleaning duties.
• Have a cleaning plan. For instance, if restrooms are cleaned first, do this every time. This way, office staff becomes accustomed to your schedule.
• Wear proper work clothing (with company logo if possible) and always make sure clothing is clean and fresh. Proper grooming is also important.
• Do not wear perfume or cologne and keep jewelry to a minimum, as these can be distracting.
• Be polite, but limit interactions with office staff.
• Because open space offices can have increased concerns about cross-contamination, "all surfaces and work stations must be cleaned," Colber said. "Simply ask, 'May I clean this area now?' In most cases, staffers will accommodate you."
• Keep cleaning noise to a minimum. This includes equipment use as well as talking to other cleaning workers and using cell phones or walkie-talkies.
"And what is most important is to develop a cleaning plan with the building manager," Colbert added. "The plan helps determine the best times to work and the order of cleaning, and it should be shared with office staffers as well."