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HR Tip of the Month

Messy shared spaces, like bathrooms and break rooms, can be a serious sore spot in any office. Although we’d like to think that adults can be trusted to clean up their own messes, expectations and reality don’t always jive. You may have even found yourself posting notes on the walls with such over-the-top messages as, “Dirty dishes in the sink will be thrown away at the end of the day.” Although the nuclear option cannot always be avoided, ideally, we’d like to get ahead of these problems before they start (or at least before they blow up).

Scheduled reminders—like a monthly email or posting on the fridge—can be a good way to communicate your expectations for everyone without looking like you are reacting to a particular person or situation. It might also make sense to assign certain tasks on a rotating basis. For instance, all employees might be assigned copy room straightening or fridge clean-out duties. Depending on the size of your organization, this might mean that an employee is only asked to do this task every few years.

However you decide to tackle the issue, focus on regularity and shared responsibility. And if your expectations have been communicated clearly, hold employees responsible for their actions rather than taking a passive aggressive (or simply aggressive) approach to solving the problem.

Content provided by TPC HR Support Center.