Bad clients & office cleaning: where you should (and shouldn't) make cuts, or torture staff
Dennis, the online business guru - go read his collected wisdom - wrote a little article listing ways companies can save money. It's a quick and clever little list.
But one point made me shudder: cutting back on cleaning expenses.
"Consider the frequency of janitorial services. Does the office really
need cleaning every night? Might staff at least partially fulfill that
Some random statistic I stumbled across ages ago said that offices are some of the worst places in terms of germs. Accounting firms lead the pack according to the study.
Perhaps it was just advanced internal fear mongering to generate sales of hand sanitizer.
Regardless, I continue to wash my hands, but I also appreciate the hard work of the cleaning staff. I also know for a fact that people would revolt if they were confronted with overflowing mounds of rubbish in the office.
It'd be nice to thing everyone can pitch in and help, but unless you work in a very small office that's more of a small house than a giant audit factory, it's a wildly unlikely concept.
We live in a world where someone, in their infinite wisdom, realized that it's necessary for a chocolate bar to have operating instructions. Yes, I do think that asking people to clean up after themselves and take out the trash on a daily basis may be a daunting concept, unfortunately.
It's important to balance criticism with praise, though - and offering incentives to your good customers - with whom you have a strong business relationship - while being tough on the bad customers - who are more of a hassle than they're worth - is wisdom worth always remembering.
As Dennis writes:
"Review your worst payers and consider ceasing business with them or
applying onerous surcharges for late settlement. No one likes to cut
off customers; but if they’re not paying, then they’re not worth the
Well put. I've seen it in practice, and the effect is brilliant.
I suppose it would've been good for me to realize I was learning the lesson firsthand when it was happening to me back in university.
For a difficult publishing year, my staff and I wasted mounds of time on a high maintenance advertiser in my campus newspaper. At least my cost of labour working for me was "free", so I was able to delegate that onerous task to another volunteer at the newspaper.
It was a shame that dealing with the advertiser caused my volunteer to collapse. That was the effect anyway - I do of course mean burn out and break down in tears.
Well, almost break down in tears.
Okay, he just got lazy and stopped working for us - which gave me the dubious pleasure of "firing" a volunteer member of my staff.
But it was a blessing in disguise because that opened up the position - and I was able to replace that hapless volunteer with a much stronger business manager who ended up joining the same Big Four company I work at after surviving the trial of managing a campus journalism business.
So in conclusion, drop your worst clients unless you can make them profitable
Or, if you're feeling diabolical, use them as a punishing training ground for your most expendable staff. Horrible advice, I know. Unless you're a new to this whole "managing people" thing and have an appetite for pathological ruthlessness.]
I swear, I only stumbled on this tactic by chance, not by design.
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