Your retail space is so appealing, neat and organized. But, look behind the checkout counter. Check the storeroom. That’s another story! And, the office. . . let’s not even go there! It’s quite common for the public spaces in retail establishments to shine while the work areas that are visible to employees and management are littered with clutter of all kinds.
You may be thinking, “It’s the public areas that affect the bottom line, right?” Think again. All areas of a business affect the bottom line. Everything is connected. To begin with, clutter in those out-of-sight places has a profound effect on employee morale, behavior and efficiency.
A cluttered environment attracts more of the same. In retail it could manifest in a fuzzy, cluttered brain that is less able to make good decisions with customers. Or, a cluttered space with its annoying, irritating energy could lead to irritations among staff members. If nothing else, clutter in the areas of the business that are visible only to employees creates a double standard. The public gets and deserves to have a pristine environment, but the employees must tolerate clutter and visual chaos. What message does that send to employees about their importance to the business?
If a business has an office on site, think of it as the physical brain of the business. A cluttered brain operates ineffectively, is unable to make good decisions consistently, and tends to be reactive rather than proactive. Can you really afford to have a cluttered business office?
So now what? First, if you have neglected those out of sight places in your retail establishment, you must begin viewing those areas as just as significant as the public spaces. You may not worry as much about their decor, but investing energy to make them neat, clean and organized will have a big payoff on many levels.
An initial cleanup will be necessary plus the establishment of procedures for maintaining order and cleanliness. Job descriptions should include clear expectations about the maintenance of both the retail and the out of sight spaces of the business.
And, the business office. Clear it of anything that does not pertain to the current operation of the business and management of employees. Old records should be archived and located in another part of the building or moved off site. Keeping only current documents and records, with the exception of old records necessary for current operations, keeps the business alive and vital. Old records can be distracting and take up prime real estate in the brain of the business.
Clear the clutter. Create a new order. Commit to maintaining a clutter-free environment and watch employee behavior and interactions both with customers and other employees improve. Pay attention to your own ability to think clearly, handle problems and make decisions. And, watch the bottom line. Having removed the clutter barriers to success, you are more likely to experience positive change in many areas of the business.