4 simple strategies to keep a tidy office

4 simple strategies to keep a tidy office

With the daily grind and long hours in the office it can be easy to neglect the importance of a tidy and clean workplace. Having a clean and tidy workplace has many benefits and should not be overlooked in your daily routine.

Some of the benefits include;

  • A better first impression of a well presented office for walk-in clients increasing your business’s bottom line.
  • A well presented office space will improve the atmosphere and make it a more pleasant and productive environment for your staff.
  • A clean and sanitary environment will reduce office flu, decreasing sick-days taken by staff which will save you money and the stress of being understaffed.
  • It will reduce the need of a daily cleaner, saving the business money.

Below is a list of 4 easy and fun ways to implement a better cleaning strategy into your business.

1. STAFF PARTICIPATION

Your staff work hard for you everyday to help your business run at its full potential, this doesn’t mean they are not responsible for their own mess. Teaching your staff to get into the habit of keeping their area clean will not only help when it comes to the Spring clean, but presentable looking desks will keep the atmosphere of the room bring and happy for all the people who work there.

Giving your staff 15 to 30 minutes at the end of each day for a quick tidy up is one option to consider. This will not only make the office clean for the next morning, but it will give your staff some time to wind-down after a days of hard work before heading home.

2. TEAM BONDING & CLEANING DAY

Instead of just making your staff clean their areas after a long days work, you can organise one day a month (or day of your choosing) and have a staff bonding day. Shut down the office at midday and invite your staff to come and spend time together as a team. You can use this day as an opportunity to get your staff to clean the office, but also add in fun team-bonding actives and a BBQ for lunch.

Not only will this get the office looking good, but it will give your staff a day to relax and have fun which will increase productivity when your staff return the next day refreshed and ready to work.

3. DESK ORGANIZATION

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Light at the end of the cleaning tunnel

Sometimes, the biggest cause of mess  is bad desk organisation. A badly organised desk with books, papers and folders laying around can not only make it harder for the staff member to find something fast when they need it, but it is also easy to lose and not notice pens and papers fall off the desk and accumulate on the floor with the other rubbish.

GOOD STORAGE ACCOUNTS FOR A CLEAN DESK

Having appropriate desk storage solutions will help move the clutter off the desk and place them in their own specific spots that can be easily recalled at a later time when needed. Most stationary stores will have storage solutions that will suit most peoples needs, wether it be a stack of drawers that fit on the desk, filing cabinets or wall units, clearing up your desk will not only decrease your clutter and mess, but also increase your daily productivity.

4. THE OFFICE CHALLENGE

Sometimes all you need to help your staff keep a clean office space is a bit of competition.

Set up a friendly in-office challenge where you split the room up in to groups and you offer rewards and prizes for the group who has the cleanest office space at the end of the month. It may seem silly at first but people do like to compete with each other and if done right you could turn this in to a ongoing fun event for all to enjoy throughout the months.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Before hiring a cleaner, give these tips a try and see if they are a good fit for you and your business. It may just save you money and offer value to your business.

If all else fails then you might have to bite the bullet and find a cleaning company for the business. The overall benefit and value you will receive will outweigh the investment in a cleaning company.

If you need help with your office cleaning, contact us at Z & Z Cleaning (or your local equivalent) and ask them how they can help you brighten up your office space.

4 simple strategies to keep a tidy office

Drilling 101 : 6 Essential Tips for a Better Drilling Experience

A drill can be a useful tool in the shop, and is a necessity in most projects you undertake, but improper use and techniques can make your job harder and leave your product with imperfections.

Whether you are a novice handyman or a professional carpenter it is always a valuable to refresh your knowledge base on the basics and seek out some new tips and techniques to make your drill work easier for you. It is easy to get set in your ways, and even the professionals can sometimes get lazy with their tools, but if you revise some of the basics it will ensure that your skills will stay as sharp as your tools.

When you undertake any job it is always important to make sure you have the right quality tools for the job. Sure, its the skill of the person using the tool that matters in the end, but it is good to remember that it is your tools that are there to help you make the job easier not just for the convenience.

THE DRILL

There are many different types of drills on the market, all with their own settings, so it is important to read the user-manual for the drill you are using so you can properly operate the torque and speed settings when you start your next job or project.

As with any job you undertake it is always good to do some research on the particular type of material you are drilling into to get the best out of your drilling techniques, but the following is a quick guide to some of the common materials you will be drilling into.

  1. WOOD – Wood is probably the least scary material to work with when it comes to drilling. Wood bits generally are spiral and come with pointy tips to help dig into the grain. Start off slow until the bit starts digging into the wood then you can increase the speed. Try not to go too fast or keep the drill in the same position for too long otherwise you risk burning the wood.
  2. METAL – When it comes to metal bits you have High Speed Steel(HSS) or Cobalt (Cheaper of the 2 but more brittle), both resistant to the high temperatures that the bit will reach when drilling into harder metals. If you are drilling into Hard metals like Stainless Steel and Iron it is recommended to use lower RPM and a firm pressure, stopping at times to let the bit cool. When using in a drill press on thicker metals it is always a good idea to keep the bit lubricated with a coolant like a Drill Oil. When working with softer metals like aluminium, a higher rpm and prolonged drilling can cause the heat to deform the metal- so take it slow.
  3. MASONRY (brick) – When you need to drill into stone or brick you need a masonry bit. These come with hardened tips and should be used with the hammer setting on your drill. When drilling apply firm pressure and keep removing the bit and blowing out the dust from the hole – this will stop the dust getting in the way and causing he bit to polish the stone instead of cutting into it.

drillTHE DRILL BITS

Drill bits come in many styles and sizes depending on what job they are designed to do; Wood, Metal, Masonry and Forstner are just some of the main bits you will be using. The following simple tips are what I recommend when choosing and using your drill bits.

  1. Choose Quality Brands – A quality Drill Bit is essential when choosing bits for your next project. They may cost a bit more initially but you will save money in the long run when they outlast all your cheap bits and stay sharp longer. Remember, you don’t need every single size of drill bit so if price is an issue then slowly build your collection by buying the quality bit size separately as needed instead of a whole pack. Just don’t forget to get a suitable container to store them in (see tip 3)
  2. Keep your bits sharp – Blunt drill bits will make your job harder as they are more likely to polish and rub against the medium you are working with then cut and remove dust from the hole you are drilling. Take the time to learn how to hand sharpen your bits as most cheaper Electric Drill Bit sharpeners will not do a good job and are more likely to case damage bit than sharpen them.
  3. Store your bits in a suitable container – The last thing you want after you have your expensive sharp bits in your possession is to have them slowly blunt as they rub and grind against themselves when you just chuck them loosely into a box. Most quality drill packs will have a suitable container, but if you’re re buying each piece separately then there are many drill bit holders on the market that will keep the drill bits organised and held securely in place.
  4. Right bit for the job – Before picking up that drill it is worth while doing a bit of research on the material you’ll be drilling into; doing this will not only guarantee that you are using the correct drill bit for the job but could also help you find the right techniques and drill settings for that material.
  5. Pre-drilling holes – Before drilling a hole, or driving a screw into any material is an important step to pre-drill guide holes to avoid splitting of fragile materials or snapping of screws when dealing with hardwoods. When you need to drill a larger hole it is always good to start with a small pilot hole and gradually increase the size of the drill bit until you get to the desired size. This will not only make sure the hole you drill is clean, but will also make your job easier, faster and protect your drill bit from overheating from friction which can cause your bits to dull.
  6. Rubber Grommets – A simple but effective trick is to use a rubber grommet (if you cant find a grommet you can use the grommet off These Screws) to protect surfaces you are drilling into. Just slide the grommet over your drill shaft bit until its against the chuck head and you’re done. Next time you drill through something this will prevent the chuck rubbing against the material, especially the moments when you accidentally slip and slam the drill into the material you’re working with. A must if working with a lot of tiles. (Click here for Tile Drilling tips)

Now that you have the tools and the knowledge, go out and master your next project!

4 simple strategies to keep a tidy office

Cleaning out the closet

Ask yourself these questions;

  • Are you running out of space in your closet?
  • Are you fighting for space with your significant other?
  • Are you finding it hard to throw out old clothes?

Trying to organise your closet space can be difficult when you have so many clothes that you want to keep.

As we enter the month of February and officially leave the holiday season of sales and discounts, the fight for that valuable space is at its worse and now is the time you should start to think about how to make that space that you desperately need.

There are many techniques out there to help organise your closet,  from buying more shelving, special multi-level hangers and vacuum seal bags, but most of these just help find space for all the junk but not actually help you dispose of old clothes that you will not wear, it just hides them.

There is a technique that will help you find out which clothes you don’t wear and should throw out, and the good thing about it is that you don’t have to throw anything out right now. This beauty of this method is that after you set it up, it can work for you every year. All you have to do at the end of every year is open up your closet and you will know exactly which items you should keep or throw out and donate.

The method is called – The Reverse Coat-hanger.

THE REVERSE COAT-HANGER TECHNIQUE

The setup for this is very easy.

  1. Open up your closet and orient your clothes with the open hook of the coat-hanger facing you.

SHIRT12. Whenever you return an item of clothing after you have used it, place it back into your closet with the open hook of the coat-hanging facing the back wall of the closet.

3.Repeat Step 2 for the rest of the year.

It’s that simple. Now you wait

Then the only thing you have to do at the end of the year is look into your closet and remove the clothes that still have the coat-hanger hook facing you. These Items of clothing haven’t been worn all year and most likely are out of fashion or you have no interest in wearing them again – obviously make exceptions for suits and items of clothing that are for special occasions.

SHIRT2

After you throw out or donate these items of clothing, once again turn all the coat-hangers with the hook facing you and start over again.

Doing this at the end of each year will help you clean out your closet of unused items as well as prepare you for the next years clean up. Think of it as a spring clean for your closet – start each new year with a clean and organised closet ready to be filled up again throughout the year with new clothes!

4 simple strategies to keep a tidy office

Cleaning Air-conditioning Filters

Air conditioning systems, especially in the Australian summers are a essential item for any home that is lucky to have one, but most people don’t read the instructions beyond basic operation, and the installer doesn’t inform the customer of the appropriate maintenance procedures they should be taking to get the most of their new system.

Have you noticed that;

  • Your electricity bill is larger then usual?
  • That your allergies are playing up more frequently?
  • That your air-conditioning system doesn’t seem to be cooling as quickly or as well as it used to?

If you answered YES to any of these questions then your air-conditioning filter could be dirty and may need a cleaned or replaced.

There are many benefits in making sure your aircon is properly serviced and cleaned at regular intervals, these can include health benefits, lowering the cost of your electricity bill and the prolonged life of the system itself.

AIR-CONDITIONING EFFICIENCY

One of the most important maintenance tasks that you should be doing to improve the efficiency of your air-conditioning system is to regularly clean the filters on your system. Dust build up on the filters will start to interfere with the airflow of the system causing it to not work efficiently and make the system overall work harder.

A dirty filter could cause your air-conditioning system to work up to 15% less efficient and add strain onto its compressor. This will result in less efficient cooling, higher electricity bills and decrease in the system life.

When cleaned, your air-conditioner will work more efficiently by cooling the room faster and it will keep its preset temperature more accurately

The air filter in your air-condition system should be checked at least once a month, and cleaned or changed no more then every 3 months. If the environment is dirty or has pets then we recommend cleaning it monthly to account for the extra dust and pet hair it will be catching.

HEALTH BENEFITS

The filter in your air-condition unit catches dust and dirt, but if neglected it can harbour mould and bacteria which can be sucked into the system and back out into the air of the room you are trying to cool. People with allergies and asthma may notice a increase in symptoms and attacks in rooms with air-conditioners that are not regularly serviced but may not necessary realise or attribute the cause to the air-condition system.

For the health of your family in your home, or the staff in your office you should schedule monthly filter inspections in your calendar or talk to your cleaner to add it into the cleaning contract.

TYPES OF AIR-CONDITIONING UNITS

There are two main types of air-conditioning units that you typically find in a home or office;

  1. Wall Unit (Standard)
  2. Central Heating

Wall units are what you typically find in most homes with a compressor outside of the house that connects to a unit on the wall on the inside. These usually have two slide out filters that are washable.

Central Air Units general found in offices will have ducting along the roof or walls, with vents at a defined distance between each other. These will usually require a ladder to access and come with washable and non-washable filters.

WALL-UNIT CLEANING

Cleaning a wall-unit air-conditioning filter is a simple process and it doesn’t require any special tools or chemicals.

  1. Most wall mounted units will have a faceplate that will lift up to reveal the filters. Search the front and sides of the unit for tabs or finger indents that will indicate where you should pull the faceplate. These are generally held in by a clip so a little bit of force may be required to dislodge the faceplate for the unit.
  2. Once opened you will see one or two filters that have convenient tabs to help you remove the filters. Pull the tabs and the filters should slide out of units guide rails. Take note of the orientation of the filters so you don’t put them in backwards once they’re cleaned.

    AC1

    Left: Wall Unit Right: Opened Lid showing the filters

This is a good time to inspect the fins of the air-conditioning unit. The fins are located behind where you had just removed the filters. Visually inspect the fins and make sure that there are not too many that are bent or damaged. If you do find some are damage then you can purchase a fin-comb to straighten the fins out. This step isn’t extremely important but our goal is to keep the airflow of the unit as efficient as possible and bent fins will block air flow.

3. Take the filters outside and use a brush to clean the dust off the filter panels. Once you have removed as much dust off as possible take a hose or place the filters under a sink and wash the filters with soapy water. Leave outside to dry before putting them back into the air-conditioner unit.

4. Before placing them back into the unit its a good idea to brush off the faceplate of any dust and give it a wipe down. When brushing inside the unit, be careful not to bend any of the fins under the filter assembly.

5. Place the filters back into the unit making sure they are in the right direction and secured tightly. Close the faceplate and press firmly until you hear the click of the faceplate clipping back in to its spot.

6. Turn on the unit and check that everything is working correctly then you are done. Enjoy your fresh clean air.

Check the user manual that came with your unit for specific cleaning instructions for that unit

CENTRAL AIR SYSTEM CLEANING

The filters in central air systems are generally located along corridors and are easily spotted by the vents or grills on the ceiling of the building. Although it may look more complicated, it is basically the same process as wall mounted units except it also has vents which can capture dust adding another layer of resistance for airflow.

  1. Firstly take a broom and brush off the vents on the ceiling. This is important as you will be opening that vent and the last thing you want to do is get a face full of dust.
  2. Once cleaned, open the vent and depending on the design you may be able to remove the vent completely or it will hang down on hinges. Brush the other side of the vent now that you have access to it to make sure the vent is completely free of dust. This will ensure proper airflow into the system.
  3. Carefully remove the filter inside the ceiling. Again, depending on the type of system you have installed, these filters may either be ones you have to replace completely, or they are able to be cleaned.

    AC2

    Left: Vents of Central Systems | Right: Open vents showing filter.

If the filters are made out of mesh and metal then you can be safe knowing that they are washable. If they are just made out of fibres then you may have to replace it with a new one.

Tip: Ask your local air-conditioning specialist for re-usable filters. These may be more expensive but will save you money in the long run as they are washable and not single use.

5. Replace the new or cleaned filter back into the ceiling and close the vent and secure it into place.

6. Repeat the whole process for every vent you have in your building.

It couldn’t be simpler. 

Remember that this is only the basic level of maintenance that you are performing to your air-conditioning system and that you should at least once a year call out a professional technician to come inspect and service the rest of the system and keep it running at 100% efficiency.

Mustard Stains

Mustard is a great condiment when paired with delicious meat in a sandwich, marinated on chicken or on top of a hotdog that you’re about to enjoy, but it isn’t as well received when accidents happen and it ends up on your clothes, walls or furniture.

Without the right techniques, trying to clean up mustard spills could just spread the problem literally and you could end up with a bigger mess then you had originally started with.

 

MUSTARD: THE RUN DOWN.

Mustard or Mastarde which comes from latin – Mustum (the seeds were ground with Must) and Ardens  (Hot) is a condiment made up of mustard seeds that are mixed with various liquids and spices.

These spices are the main cause of staining when it comes to mustard. Yellow mustard in general contains Turmeric which is used as a dye in many foods like cheese, yogurt and margarine to give it colour and to protect it from sunlight, but it is also used as a dye in clothing.

These dye properties is what stains anything it touches and why its essential to attend to the problem as soon as possible.

 

CLEANING MUSTARD OFF WALLS AND FLOORS.

The most important thing to remember is NOT to panic. When mustard gets spilt the first thing people do is panic and try to rub the mustard off the surface its on – this is bad.

Stay calm and follow these steps.

 

1. Don’t wait: Mustard stains easily, so if possible try to attend to the problem as soon as possible to avoid permanent stain. It will be much easier to clean up mustard before it dries and hardens.

2. Remove excess mustard: Grab a spoon and scrape away any excess mustard from the surface then use a paper towel or cloth and lightly dab the mustard to remove whats remaining. Frequently fold the paper towel to a fresh spot to avoid spreading accidently.

WARNING: Do not rub the mustard stain as this will only spread the stain.

3. The Cleaning Solution: Mix White Vinegar with a bit of warm water and use a soft sponge or cloth to clean the mustard off the surface. Sometimes, depending on how old the stain is, it can beneficial to dab the white vinegar water solution on the stain and leave it for a minute so it can start to dissolve the turmeric in the mustard.

Handy Tip: Make sure to regularly rinse the sponge to prevent spreading the stain.

For stubborn spots you can use a green scourer and gently rub the areas that need that extra attention. Apply more pressure slowly but do this at your own risk as the scorour can damage your paintwork.

4. Final wipe down: When you have removed as much of the stain as possible, change the water and this time put a bit of detergent in and use a new sponge to do a final pass over the stained area to remove any vinegar residue that is left.

Remember, depending on the life of the stain, it may not be possible to remove all signs of the stain but following these tips you will be able to dramatically lighten the stain to a point it may be hardly visible.

If it is important to you that the wall be perfectly clean and you have tried the above method a few times then you may have to hire a profession cleaner to come in. They will have harsher chemicals that will be able to help remove more of the stain.

 

CLEANING MUSTARD OFF CLOTHES AND FURNITURE.

Ever had your favourite outfit ruined by a stain? It can easily ruin your night and can be expensive to take it to a dry cleaners to get it professionally cleaned and a stain on the couch will also set you back a bit if you need to call someone out to clean it for you.

Following these tips could just save you the money and stress in cleaning some of your more expensive possessions. 

  1. Remove excess mustard: Use a spoon or a knife to scrape away any excess mustard off the item – avoid rubbing the stain as it will case it to spread.
  2. The Cleaning Solution: Mix up White Vinegar and water into a spray bottle. If the stain is on clothing, place something under the stain or try to seperate the stain section from the rest of the clothing so it doesn’t spread if the solution accidentally drips or runs.
  3. Clean the stain: Spray some of the vinegar solution onto the stain and let it sit for a minute then lightly dab the stain with a cloth or paper towel, regularly folding it to a clean section to avoid spreading the stain. Repeat as many times as needed.
  4. The final wash: Hopefully the stain is now mostly removed. The final stage is a pre-wash and wash.

If the stain is on clothing, fill up the sink with warm soapy water and a bit of bleach (colour safe bleach if the item has colour in it) and place the item in there to soak before placing it into the washing machine for a normal wash.

If the stain is on furniture then mix some warm soapy water into a spray bottle and spray the stain cleaned area, rub it in with a cloth, then use a dry clean cloth to dab it dry.