Living in Cincinnati, I have spoken to Procter & Gamble many times. But years ago, when I was first getting to know the company culture, I was surprised to find out that they had a clean desk policy.
Every day, at the end of work hours, employees were expected to file papers, throw away trash, and leave their desk looking neat and tidy.
When I first heard this, I was a little shocked. I mean, aren’t we all adults here? Do they really need a policy for clean up time?
But as I’ve thought about it over the years, I’ve seen the wisdom, and it is this: if you are consistent in the small things, it’s easier to be consistent in the big things, when it really matters.
In the same way that if you have the habit of keeping a clean desk, you’ll be less likely to ever lose important paperwork, so also if you’re in the habit of responding to emails promptly, you’ll be less likely to let important messages go unanswered. Additionally, if you go home when you’re tired at the end of a long day, leaving behind a messy desk, how do you think you’ll feel when you return the next day? Tired, and like you’ve just had a long day.
Not to mention the pure aesthetics of having a clean desk: would you be embarased to host someone in your office or cubicle? Do you think you boss or colleagues appreciate having to host their clients next to your messy desk?
Having a clean desk policy can help make you more organized, efficient, energized, and in general, just make your office a more pleasant place to be.
What’s a small requirement, such as a clean desk policy, that you could implement in your company that would help build good habits in your employees? It doesn’t matter if it seems insignificant by itself—it’s the culture you’re creating through the change that are important.
*Image courtesy Danijel Grabovac
As a speaker and author, Curtis Zimmerman has impacted over one million people with his life-changing messages and award-winning programs. Curtis is an expert at transforming organizations by inspiring individuals to live their lives at performance level.
Want to be inspired? Check out his podcast The Next 24 Hours.