Maintaining a clean, organized office that is both presentable to clients and pleasant to work in isn’t just the responsibility of office managers and cleaning personnel. All employees should respect and take pride in the office space to make sure it’s consistently an excellent working environment for everyone. Here are a few tips to inspire employees to do their part.

  • Send occasional reminder emails. No one wants to be getting multiple emails a day reminding them to clean their items in the sink, but an occasional reminder can go a long way. Keep these reminders practical rather than shaming employees when a space isn’t clean or picked up. For example, on a Friday afternoon, you might send a note reminding everyone the office cleaner will be coming to clean the kitchen so to please do any remaining dishes to make sure he or she has access to the sink.
  • Post signs in common spaces and highly trafficked areas. It’s easier for employees to help keep the office tidy if they pick up after themselves as they go rather than having to take time out of their day to make a concerted effort to clean up. Signs reminding them to recycle when they’re already in the copy room will be more effective than reminding them to do so when they’re at their desks and only near trash bins.
  • Focus on positive reinforcement.If employees stay after an office birthday party to help clean, make sure you thank them – in person and via email. A simple, “Really enjoyed celebrating Rachel’s birthday and thanks so much everyone for your help picking up!” can go a long way.


  • Find ways to turn office maintenance tasks into a game. You’ve probably seen “dueling tip jars” at coffee shops, but what about dueling recycling bins? Employees might be a little more likely to recycle their empty water bottle or stack of old files if they’re also casting their vote for “White Sox versus Cubs.” Don’t forget to report the winners every week to keep everyone invested.
  • Make sure to properly train new employees. It’s hard to train employees with bad office upkeep habits to change their ways, but making sure employees know from day one where to recycle, where supplies are kept and should be returned, and that the sink has a no-dish policy can help set a good example.