April 11, 2013 in Features

Annie’s Mailbox: Dirty office part of mess at work

Kathy Mitchell
 

Dear Annie: I work for a small family-owned company, and there are fewer than 10 employees. There is no office cleaning service. For years, one of the employees has been compensated for cleaning the building after hours. This person was recently promoted, but continues to be in charge of the cleaning. That’s the problem. For months now, the office has looked like a fraternity house. The trash is overflowing, dust is piling up, and dishes are left in the sink for a week or more.

The rumor mill has it that the promotion didn’t come with a large enough raise, so this person is now doing the bare minimum of cleaning out of spite. The other employees refuse to lift a finger because they feel the person being paid to do the cleaning is solely responsible.

I understand both sides, but at the end of the day, nothing is being done. I get mad at myself and at the person responsible every time I give in and clean up, but otherwise, the office is unpleasant and looks unprofessional. We have clients in daily, and some have commented on the condition of the office. This has caused me undue stress, but it doesn’t seem to bother the other employees, especially not the one who is supposedly cleaning.

We don’t have a human resources department, and I definitely can’t go to the person who is supposed to clean, because he is now my supervisor. Help! – Dirty Mess in South Carolina

Dear Dirty Mess: Surely your supervisor has a boss. That is the person you need to speak to. You don’t have to speculate on the reasons why the cleaning is not being done. Simply say the office is getting messy, clients have noticed, and you think the company might need additional help to clean up after hours. If they do nothing, your decision then is whether to let it pile up, continue picking up after everyone else or find another job.

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