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Eric E. Larsen

Clean Signshops and Trucks Promote Positivity and Efficiency

Ask, don’t tell employees to straighten up, and provide them an incentive.

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LET’S TALK ABOUT one of the most important things in a sign company, if not the most important thing. No one wants to do it, but it needs to be done. But when it isn’t, everything slows down and you can have a safety hazard.

Now we all hate being asked to clean up. I know when Chandra asks me to vacuum it somehow takes five times longer than it would if I decided to do it myself. But if I don’t vacuum and suddenly company pulls into the driveway, then it’s a mad scramble. I trip over the overflowing recycling bin and bump my elbow on the corner of the countertop, go to grab something for balance and put my hand smack dab in the middle of last night’s takeout as I fall to the floor.

“Clean environments promote a positive attitude and greater efficiency among employees.”

No one wants to clean up, no one wants to be told to do it, and many think it takes away time that can be more productive. But! When not done or let go for some time, it can end up costing more time and dollars, or worse.

Fact is (I’m sure there is a study) that being clean promotes a positive attitude. It gets the happy juices flowing throughout the body and you become more efficient at whatever you are doing. The whiff in the air of cleanliness makes humans stop for a moment and bask in its presence — like we do for sunlight through the window on a crisp spring morning.

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So, how do you get a clean shop without making everyone feel like they are being told to do it? Ask (don’t tell) and reward. Simply ask everyone to take a few minutes to straighten up their area throughout or at the end of the day. Even go as far as to incentivize them that if they have things cleaned up right before shift’s end, they can clock out a little early — stress on a little, so 10 or 15 minutes.

Also ask the road crews to straighten up the trucks, clean out the cabs and straighten up the beds or cabinets. Once a week have them hose down the trucks just to keep the grime off the paint. After all, your road crew represents your company when they are out and about. A clean presence imparts a positive impression to the people who see them. This could lead to more business. But it certainly will lead to happier road crews driving around in clean vehicles. If they keep the trucks clean, give them a gift card for a coffee or a burger now and then.

After a while you, the staff and the road crews will start to see a difference in the overall look of your shop and equipment. This will promote a happier place and more production. You will notice a few people helping others or saying, “Hey, can you pick up that scrap over there? Less we have to do later, and we can punch out a little early.”

Positive attitudes make for a better and safer workplace whether it’s on the road or in the shop. A clean space to hone your skills takes your mind off your environment and focuses your attention on your work. People don’t dread going to a clean workspace. Fewer things get lost in the mess, and fewer accidents and injuries occur, so management likes it, too.

So, don’t treat it like telling a teenager to straighten up their bedroom. Make cleaning up something employees want to do — yes, for the reward — but also for all the other good things that come along with it.

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