When talking to the owners or managers of small and medium sized businesses about building maintenance and janitorial cleaning work, we often have people tell us that it’s easier and less expensive to just do the work themselves.  After all how hard can it be right?

Well if it’s just a couple of offices, and there are only one or two people in those offices, and you can take the trash out on your way to the car, then it’s probably not too hard at all.  But if you have a shop, or retail space, maybe a small warehouse and a half dozen or dozen employee’s then it starts to become more of a problem.

There are several pitfalls that can be very hard to avoid and can lead to a number of problems.  In this two part article we’ll explore the reasons why it’s best not to have your employee’s cleaning up the office or commercial space.


Experience:   Yes we have all, everyone one of us, cleaned something sometime in our lives, and so technically we should know how to clean an office.  It’s easy if all you have to do is sweep the floor or vacuum, and maybe wipe down the meeting room table once in a while.  But what about the washrooms?  Have you purchased the best cleaners? The safest cleaners?  How often do they change the rags they are cleaning with?  Do they change the rags they are cleaning with?   Did they use the same rag to clean the toilet and the sink?  Yes that does happen a lot!  Did they sanitize anything in the bathroom or the staff kitchen/lunch room?  When was the last time they changed the waste bag in the vacuum?  Did they keep replacing the dirty water in the mop pail or did they just use one pail of dirty water to mop the floor?

Morale:  It’s great when someone volunteers to clean, or tidy up around the office, but what happens when you have to designate someone?  A secretary, or driver, or someone out in the warehouse might be quite happy to do the extra work that cleaning takes, but if you have to tell them to do it, you can expect to have to deal with a number of problems.  If they have been designated and they are unhappy about it, the chances are they will do a poor job, if at all.  What do you do as the boss, they aren’t paid to clean, and I doubt it’s in their scope of work, so reprimanding them about a poor job will only get you into hot water.  They will be unhappy, and resentful, and you will be frustrated and unhappy, not to mention that the office will look untidy and sloppy.  It can also often lead to spats between employees.  If someone is particularly messy and makes a mess after someone has cleaned everything they may end up feuding or arguing over the problem, a problem that shouldn’t be there in the first place.

These are just a couple of ways that cleaning your own space can end up coming back to bite you.  It sounds simple but when you are in the middle of an ongoing argument between staff members it ain’t fun.  Next week we’ll talk about this some more.  Until then, thanks for listening.