Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Shared space? Clean up.

What is it about communal areas -- the office kitchen, conference rooms, apartment laundry areas -- that make people think it's okay to leave detritus behind?

Is it laziness?

Or is it the thought of, "If I ignore it, it will go away"? Or is it, "If I leave crap here, someone else will be so bothered, they'll clean it up. I'm far too important for janitor work."

I work in a shared office space, which means no one has an assigned desk - we come and go when we need to work (or not). You can't get access to the office until you take a tour and agree to the rules, one of which is, "When you use the dishes, put them in the dishwasher. If dishwasher is full (of clean dishes), you then either: a) empty it, and add your dirty dish, or; b) hand-wash and put it away."

Simple, right? You'd think a handful of Phds and high-school grads could grasp that one. Apparently not. As I type, a stack of dirty plates graces my office kitchen. These geniuses need gentle reminding all the time. Maybe not-so-gentle would have greater effect?

And it's not just the whole kitchen-dishes-microwave thing. I'll start my day by choosing a desk, and set down my laptop only to find a gaggle of cookie crumbs from who-knows-who carrying all sorts of germs.

Look, when you're in a common area: office, kitchen, laundry, whatever, it's simple: you spill it; you wipe it up. You dirty it, you clean it.

Like most good behavior, taking care of your surroundings expresses that you care about them; it's showing a sense of pride.

So what do you feel like saying? "I like this space" or "This space is trash...and I am too!"