How to Address a Messy Employee in the Workplace

Reduction in Paper-Heavy Processes

Some employees could be perceived as messy and unclean because their desks are covered in papers.  Investigate the processes that are creating a large amount of paper, you may be able to find a simple solution.  The employees tasked with dealing with an overabundance of invoices, purchase requests, or contracts on a daily basis are required to handle a level of document management that other employees aren’t required to deal with.

There are a lot of software solutions available to reduce paper and make employees more efficient.  By taking employees needs away from the big metal filing cabinet and keeping them closer to their workstation, you’ll eliminate a large portion of clutter on their desk.  For employees that must be mobile, a tablet such as an Apple iPad equipped with the proper software can replace the ole clipboard and pencil.  Employees can scan and file documents right from their tablet with features built into the iPad.

If the main issue is the negative impact the employee’s behavior is having on co-workers or visitors, consider relocating that employee to a different part of the office.  This option can be challenging in today’s very popular and common open-office work environment, but a private area away from the lobby and/or elevators would be ideal.

If the employee is creating an issue in a shared work area, first start by addressing the issue with the entire staff, and discuss the importance of keeping the area clean.  If that does not resolve the issue, pull the employee aside for a private one-on-one discussion about the complaints you’ve been hearing about the employees failure to keep a tidy work area.  This is also something that can be addressed in the company handbook, and if so, point out the specific section to the employee during your discussion with them.

Host an Office Clean-Up Day

Unfortunately, an employees lack of cleanliness can negatively impact the health of others in the office.  if the messiness extends beyond paper clutter and includes nasty old food containers or spilled substances, the issue must be immediately addressed.  Explain to the employees that these types of messes can attract bugs, rodents, as well as cause unpleasant odors that affect everyone.

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