Invest in Your Workplace, It Pays Off!

Experiencing the same routine at workday after day can dull the senses.

Okay, here’s a case in point: A nine-inch stack of papers had been sitting on a coworker’s desk for years. It was ordered in the corner to the right. We spent a lot of time together at work, and I noticed that these files stayed put every time I visited his office. Not even to reorganize or file anything in them, he never picked them up.

His workplace appeared tidy and organized. This pile of files, however, was always present.

Once they had been in use for a while, I decided to inquire as to their purpose. After reviewing them, he realized they were obsolete documents he no longer needed. They had been sitting there (neatly piled) since he removed them from the filing cabinet. To sum up, he was quite taken aback (when I pointed them out) to see that they were indeed present; he had simply overlooked them. They had become “furniture” in his office, simply because they had been lying there day after day. Truth be told, he couldn’t even see them anymore.

Think About It From A Different Perspective

I used to have a job that required frequent travel to meet with clients and potential customers. During my regular visits, I often noticed the same thing, but it took on a menacing tone in several instances. I’m referring to the usual suspects: grimy surfaces, carpets with stains, boxes piled up behind the front desk, tattered periodicals spilling out of their holders, dusty windows, and so on.

The doctor and the rest of the staff let everything stay the same because they were “accustomed to it” and didn’t think twice about it.

Consider this for a second: when you enter a new area, whether it be a health care facility, a bakery, a restaurant, etc., the first thing that catches your eye is usually the filth, the disorganization, the waste, and the strewn documents and objects. Why? The setting may seem “ancient” to some, but it’s brand fresh to you. If you’re new to the scenario, you’ll be able to analyze it with fresh eyes.

It’s in your best interest to spruce up the surrounding area, as doing so will attract more potential.

A well-maintained workplace or storefront might be seen as promotional material. If a potential client or consumer visits your business with “fresh eyes,” regardless of how much you promote or market it, they may reject your services outright. That move could cost you sales with them.

At least once a week, take a stroll around your workplace and pretend you’ve never seen it before. There may be a little period of adjustment necessary to achieve the desired frame of mind but doing so is not difficult or impossible. Pretend for a moment that this is your first appointment as a new patient. Take note of anything that seems out of place or unclean and take care of it. Involve your workers by asking them to do the same for their own departments.

Last but not least, it’s not easy to keep this up by yourself; everyone (from the newest employee to the doctor) needs to share this perspective. The places where I’ve had executive roles have all seen me advocate for this.

Sometimes I’ll try it out to see what happens, and other times I do it to illustrate a point. For example, I once worked with a company whose employees casually stepped over a crumpled piece of paper in a hallway frequently used by clients. At that time, I stopped a few passers-by and made my opinion clear. They didn’t even realize they were losing by a single unit. They weren’t “bad” workers, they just didn’t try hard enough to notice the obvious. It’s essentially just a perspective.

Now, you could think all of this is ridiculous, but hear me out: people (whether they be patients or consumers) notice these things. On other occasions, the patient may just have the impression that the office is not as “clean” as they would like. Even if they don’t make the direct connection between the two, the fact that you’re asking them to spend thousands of dollars on a treatment plan will influence their decision (i.e. dirty dental office and spending money on treatment).

So, my advice is to periodically adopt a new vantage point and actually SEE the world around you. Solicit the same from your employees. You never know what you might unearth. You’ll end up with an immaculate office and a much better standing in the company as a whole.