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Who's responsible of cleaning office on a small creativity business ?

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Osama OmmeyWho's responsible of cleaning office on a small creativity business ?
by on May 10, 2014 at 8:25:31 am

This had been a critical issue for me ...
I run a small media production business ( less than 10 e ) , and because of the limited resources on such firms , usually it's the staff who do the general cleaning of the offices every week or every 2 weeks ... But because of massive work we do especially during editing period , and because of the time and rest they need to concentrate and think on new creative ideas, employees usually ignore cleaning process .
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Question : Do media creativity firms apply different workflow plan because employees there need a creative environment where they can't spend their energy on tiresome activities like cleaning ? Thus : Do I have to hire a professional cleaning stuff to maintain my staff creativity energy ?

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Mark SuszkoRe: Who's responsible of cleaning office on a small creativity business ?
by on May 10, 2014 at 7:02:54 pm

Sometimes, very small-scale operations do things a little differently than regular companies. I guess I can see where in a family-owned shop, everybody pitches-in to handle whatever needs doing, in support of the team and the overall enterprise.

That being said, my initial reaction to your situation is twofold:

If your team are real professionals, you are wasting their time and your money by diverting them from editing, which contributes to the bottom line, to do general housekeeping duties. My take on the management/worker situation is that the workers are there to work at a specific service or product, and the management is there to support that work, to enable it to be done, and direct it. IF anybody should be mopping floors and cleaning carpets in that tiny group situation, then, it should be the manager/owner, leaving his people to do what they've been hired to do. Whether you look at manuals for corporate leadership, military command, or the Bible, true management, true leaders, earn the respect of the managed, by not making them do anything they themselves wouldn't do. The first will be last, the last will be first, and so on. Making the staff do menial, off-topic work of such a trivial nature, tells them you don't value their contribution, that they are just human capital you choose to use in any way you want. I'm not even going to ask if you pay them extra for the off-topic duty.

My second reaction is that if your budget is so tight you can't afford to find part-time cleaning staff from Craigslist or some local shelter/halfway house to do the scutwork, you have more serious problems than dirty rugs or unwashed dishes in the break room. People are standing in the streets everywhere, begging for any kind of honest work, and you can't find someone affordable to clean the shop twice a month? Really? No young students willing to take minimum wage? No single moms? No retirees needing a little extra side income? No sheltered workshop for good, hard-working people with developmental disabilities? No unemployed veterans? No ex-cons needing a fresh start? No homeless, just needing a hand up?


The "creativity" of your staff is not in question here. And how messy their work environment might be, is not the issue.


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Joseph W. BourkeRe: Who's responsible of cleaning office on a small creativity business ?
by on May 10, 2014 at 7:54:36 pm

I hesitate to use a sports metaphor here, but in line with Mark's first paragraph, when you've got editors doing housekeeping, in baseball terms, you have your pitchers selling peanuts in the stands. Not a great idea, and not cost-effective - however - in terms of things such as cleaning the monitors, and keeping the editing work area policed for empty bottles, food wrappers, etc., they should indeed be expected to keep their specific work area clean.

Depending on how dusty and dirty the air is in your area, it might be a good idea to do some daily light dusting (I have always kept a small 1.5 inch paintbrush hanging near audio boards, keyboards, and control surfaces for regular daily intricate dusting that you don't want a vacuum cleaner near) in the technical work area. If this is done daily, by you or by each shift of editors, the work will be very light, and you won't run the risk of having your monitors cleaned with Bon-Ami.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Osama OmmeyRe: Who's responsible of cleaning office on a small creativity business ?
by on May 10, 2014 at 9:57:34 pm
Last Edited By Osama Ommey on May 10, 2014 at 10:01:12 pm

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Fair Enough , Very respectable point , thank you both.
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Mads Nybo JørgensenRe: Who's responsible of cleaning office on a small creativity business ?
by on May 11, 2014 at 8:11:14 am

Hey Osama,

My take on this; if you want the staff to do share the cleaning duties, take the lead, be a leader, and pick up the broom first and show them that you are willing to share.

Although, I must admit that I thought that your post was initially a joke: As in the having that amount of people in the office, it would be a Health and Safety issue if cleaning office/toilets/kitchen, emptying bins and general tidy up was not done daily...

You may find that not employing a cleaner will in the long run have more of your employees go off ill and thereby slowing down or even stopping money earning projects. Which I'm sure that even you can see, would be a false economy.

All the Best
Mads

@madsvid, London, UK
Check out my other hangouts:
Twitter: @madsvid
http://mads-thinkingoutloud.blogspot.co.uk


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Osama OmmeyRe: Who's responsible of cleaning office on a small creativity business ?
by on May 11, 2014 at 8:26:48 am
Last Edited By Osama Ommey on May 11, 2014 at 8:34:34 am

Thank you Mad .

Well , daily cleaning duties you mentioned are usually done , ... but still : There is always a need for general cleaning of the floors and carpets because of the dust .. etc ; .. it might not take more than 2 hours .. , but it takes a lot of energy so you can't work for the rest of the day ..

I am saying that because I was an employee too , .. and an energy consuming process like this ( physical and psychological) will make me either playing games for the rest 2 days , or maybe surfing web without any goal ... ; because media industry needs creativity , and my mind stops creating new ideas when the body energy is too low ..

.


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walter biscardiRe: Who's responsible of cleaning office on a small creativity business ?
by on May 11, 2014 at 1:19:18 pm

[Osama Ommey] "Question : Do media creativity firms apply different workflow plan because employees there need a creative environment where they can't spend their energy on tiresome activities like cleaning ? Thus : Do I have to hire a professional cleaning stuff to maintain my staff creativity energy ?"

In my case, staff of 6, we clean the offices ourselves. Generally Friday afternoon. My Production Manager and Media Specialist take care of the "big floors" (hallway / kitchen) and the bathrooms. The general staff clean their rooms and the other creative spaces. That includes me.

The appearance of the space is the first impression a client has when they walk in the door whether they're a new client or returning client. The space HAS to look good. If a cleaning is required any morning before a client arrives, it's all hands on deck to clean up.

For the outdoors we have a landscaping crew that comes in every two weeks to take care of the lawns, but inside, it's all us.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

Craft and Career Advice & Training from real Working Creative Professionals

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Al BergsteinRe: Who's responsible of cleaning office on a small creativity business ?
by on May 11, 2014 at 4:28:09 pm

all good answers, my only additions to this is it might depend on how the company is structured. If you are making all the profits, and the editors are simply hired hourly, or per job, it's really your job to hire a cleaning crew, or do it yourself. If these folks are all partners in this business, and share in the profits, then it either should be a joint effort, or you should all agree to pay for a cleaning service. Remember that Gandhi cleaned toilets too.

Your comments of, "cleaning is so hard that a few hours of it makes me tired for the rest of the day." sounds like whining. I've known too many women who wake up at dawn, get a bunch of kids off to school, clean all day and take care of dinner, to hear you say that you are 'tired out' from cleaning a small office for a few hours. That comment should be kept to yourself.

I always cleaned my studio myself, frankly. But I ended up marrying a woman who was crazy about cleaning so she always beats me to it at home (G). Lucky me.

Al


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Osama OmmeyRe: Who's responsible of cleaning office on a small creativity business ?
by on May 11, 2014 at 4:53:39 pm

Hey Al , thank you for reply

Well , I am the owner and the others are employees , they work by salary but there is no shifts , there are just deadlines and they're free to work whenever they want : Morning , noon , night ....

I know many women similar to the one you mentioned , but the difference is : They don't have other work to concentrate on ! Their full time job is housekeeping ... And yes it makes you tired because this job is not like carpentry , blacksmithing , or even walmart cashier ... , It's a very sensitive job which needs full concentration and full body energy and perfect mental state to give the best creativity you have ... , so you might not be tired physically , but such activity makes your will to work very low !
.


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Todd TerryRe: Who's responsible of cleaning office on a small creativity business ?
by on May 11, 2014 at 5:17:20 pm

[Osama Ommey] "I know many women similar to the one you mentioned , but the difference is : They don't have other work to concentrate on !"

Wow... if this weren't such a predominantly-male forum I'd say that someone just kicked a hornet's nest. Hard.

Just glad it wasn't me. :)

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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walter biscardiRe: Who's responsible of cleaning office on a small creativity business ?
by on May 11, 2014 at 5:51:19 pm

[Osama Ommey] " It's a very sensitive job which needs full concentration and full body energy and perfect mental state to give the best creativity you have ... , so you might not be tired physically , but such activity makes your will to work very low !"

This is also a job that requires you to get out of the office and the edit suites multiple times per day to stay fresh. That's why we have four different types of coffee makers, oversized kitchen / game room, 1 acre backyard and so on. To allow our creatives the opportunity to take a 5 - 15 minute break to re-fresh their mental slate.

Cleaning the office is part of that. My employees take ownership of the facility and they take pride in just how well the facility shows to our clients, both new and old. The weekly cleaning re-enforces that we are a family, all working together, all helping to keep each other's back.

Editors and Creatives are not prima donnas, they can pick up a broom and a mop if need be.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

Craft and Career Advice & Training from real Working Creative Professionals

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Mads Nybo JørgensenRe: Who's responsible of cleaning office on a small creativity business ?
by on May 11, 2014 at 6:02:46 pm

Osama,

I know! You must either be a comedian or one of Walter Biscardi's disgruntled employees? Maybe you should ask him to put you on gardening duties? Preferably a peaceful place that will allow you to expand your mind outwards to new horizons... :-)

Alternatively, on this day, which is mother's day in many places, you may not want to upset Bessie the Cow - after all, this website would not have existed if it wasn't for one sweet cookie who helped keep the dream alive - so do not upset her with sexist remarks.

Maybe a regular 9-5 day for all employees, where you take it in turns for one you and your employees to start at 8 for a spot of cleaning?

All the Best
Mads

@madsvid, London, UK
Check out my other hangouts:
Twitter: @madsvid
http://mads-thinkingoutloud.blogspot.co.uk


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Al BergsteinRe: Who's responsible of cleaning office on a small creativity business ?
by on May 11, 2014 at 6:27:13 pm
Last Edited By Al Bergstein on May 11, 2014 at 7:01:04 pm

Osama, perhaps we are talking a cultural difference here, since you mentioned your pay in Euros, and from your name I could assume you were raised in a different culture than some in Europe, but I could be wrong there also. Just to be clear, there are numerous women (and a lot of men) who would take your comments really the wrong way, and they could even be your clients! From this side of the Atlantic, your comments are not what American values are usually all about. We tend (and not everyone here is the same) to assume that no one is above cleaning up after themselves, or keeping their workspaces clean. My assumption is, if I care about it, I clean it. Having worked in the UK, France and Italy, I understand that management is not often expecting to clean up the rugs, but you sound like you are a startup, and rules are a bit different on that.

Your answer that your workers are employees is the answer. You need to hire this out if you don't want to do it yourself. It's the cost of being a business owner and profiting from the business. They were not hired to clean up the restrooms and vacuum carpets, and they don't stand to make any profits from jobs that a clean studio brings in (other than ones they are working on). The job of maintenance is an operational job that is part of keeping the studio open, regardless if you have any work at all! It's a cost of doing business.

Your employees are only there while needed, and when done they could care less if the place doesn't get cleaned up. However, if it gets too messy they might work elsewhere where it's cleaner. So if they value that and you value them, you need to provide a clean workplace. And of course, you care about your clients, but the employees assume you are the 'owner' of those client relations. So it really is only up to you.

Cultural differences are hard to understand. As an example, I just was told a story last week by a friend from Brazil. He told me that the N word in English is actually the opposite in Brazil, and is as common and acceptable as saying "black person" is in the US, like saying, "If you are looking for Al, he's the tall black man usually dressed well". And calling someone a "black person" in Brazil is the same as using the N word in the US. He found out the hard way the first time he taught a course up here in a college. He was apparently rattling on about how a type of music was played by a certain type of Brazilian and noticed everyone was looking at him really funny. He got pulled into the office of the Dean later that day, and eventually had the whole thing explained to him. Needless to say, he was never asked back to teach (G).

I would recommend that you might consider a documentary on following a housecleaner or office cleaner through a week of their work sometime. You might find it extremely interesting and I would suggest that the people doing editing all day are doing a lot less strenuous work than the person cleaning the buildings. Here's a BBC expose of the industry from 2005.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/4259608.stm

and the documentary it describes. Available on Vimeo. You might all want to sit down and watch this together!


Al


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Osama OmmeyRe: Who's responsible of cleaning office on a small creativity business ?
by on May 12, 2014 at 9:30:18 am

Wow wow !! ... seems like things went wrong here ! It's now a feminism issue !??

Well folks ... ! I wasn't talking about " women " as a gender !! I am talking about an occupation and " specialty " of a person in his life .. Thus : It doesn't matter if she's a woman or a man as long as it is his only job he/she has to do !

@Al : Seems an interesting film , but I don't really have to watch that in order to value that job because I have no problem on working as a cleaner ! Again : As long as I don't have to do any editing or directing or marketing or shooting or production jobs ! ...

Actually I do clean my home office personally , but that's me ! .. the question was : Do I have as a business owner to force employees to do something not of their job if I want to get the most possible business done ?

.


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Al BergsteinRe: Who's responsible of cleaning office on a small creativity business ?
by on May 12, 2014 at 4:10:11 pm

It's *so* easy to get misconstrued here. (G). The short answer to your question: Do I have as a business owner to force employees to do something not of their job if I want to get the most possible business done ? is No. It's not their job. If I'm hired to edit, it means I didn't sign up to clean toilets. Period.

Al


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Mads Nybo JørgensenRe: Who's responsible of cleaning office on a small creativity business ?
by on May 12, 2014 at 4:18:08 pm

Hey Osama,

I'm with Al on this one; if you haven't specified in the job description that cleaning is part of the job, then you've got a problem.

If not careful, two situations that you may face:
1) Breach of contract.
2) Constructive dismissal, which involve said employee(s) walking out of the door, not having to work, and may still be paid their wages. Although a worst case scenario, not an uncommon one.

All the Best
Mads

@madsvid, London, UK
Check out my other hangouts:
Twitter: @madsvid
http://mads-thinkingoutloud.blogspot.co.uk


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Osama OmmeyRe: Who's responsible of cleaning office on a small creativity business ?
by on May 12, 2014 at 4:29:42 pm

.
Thank you ...

.


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Mark SuszkoRe: Who's responsible of cleaning office on a small creativity business ?
by on May 12, 2014 at 5:49:38 pm

What does the employment contract with these people stipulate, as to their duties? Did they know this was part of the job when they signed on? If this "other duties as assigned" task was spelled out during hiring, we really don't have anything to debate.

If you can't afford minimum wage cleaners once a month, you are mis-using the pro staff for tasks they are over-qualified for, putting the real, money-making work that much further behind, and not budgeting properly to run the business.


The cleanliness of a place of business IS important. To a degree. For those working there, it keeps up morale and organization. For visiting clients, it signifies an efficient and proper operation. But, don't get caught up in petty things done only for appearance's sake. Potemkin villages look productive, from a distance, but their real output... not so much.


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Elroy HouseRe: Who's responsible of cleaning office on a small creativity business ?
by on Jul 12, 2016 at 4:44:30 am

I had my office cleaned by ergo clean http://www.ergoclean.ca/ . They clean the lobby, reception area and the conference room. They also provide carpet cleaning services especially during winter as the snow, slush and salt keeps the carpets dirty.

Hi I am new in this area and I have just started out. Looking forward to learn a lot from here.


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Bob ZelinRe: Who's responsible of cleaning office on a small creativity business ?
by on Jul 12, 2016 at 8:59:18 pm

Hi Elroy -
I was attracted to the Subject line of your post. I have changed my title from "Chief Engineer" to "Janitor" as can be seen at every NAB show for the last 3 years.

When it comes to cleaning up someone's mess - no question - I am your guy ! Unfortunately, I am not in Canada.
But I assure you, I clean up countless messes at many video and creative facilities.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
bobzelin@icloud.com


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Elroy HouseRe: Who's responsible of cleaning office on a small creativity business ?
by on Jul 15, 2016 at 6:59:22 am

Thanks Bob Zelin, that was really thoughtful :)

Hi I am new in this area and I have just started out. Looking forward to learn a lot from here.


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