Let’s start with the elephant in the room; is autumn cleaning actually a thing? Sort of, but not really. ‘Fall cleaning’ garners some relatively minor mentions in countries with predominantly deciduous plant life, however the focus is very much skewed toward gutter cleaning and the removal of fallen leaves from well-manicured lawns. What we’re pitching here, on the other hand, is far more akin to the principles of a spring clean, albeit transplanted to a polar opposite position on the calendar.
Australia doesn’t have a whole lot in the way of seasons. It’s really one big summer, with a brief 2-3 month intermission where most (but not all) of us avoid swimming, yet probably continue wearing shorts nonetheless. The net result of this is that our lives lack any tell-tale indication of autumn, and probably spring for that matter, yet ‘spring cleaning’ remains a universally accepted go-to term for any periodic cleaning, particularly where re-organisation is involved. Nice though it is, that spring has been able to transcend its Gregorian bounds, it had done so at the detriment of other seasons. That ends here, because we’re calling it right now, autumn cleaning just became a thing!
1. Frequency: The big conceptual problem with spring cleaning as a catch-all term is that it implies that such activities need only be performed once per year, which at best is kind of lazy and at worst (as we’ll discuss shortly) is absolutely disgusting. We have to give ourselves a bit of a pass for the Christmas/New Year period because goodness knows there’s enough on, and we’ll let you pretend that doing your tax is enough to write off the end of the financial year. That leaves autumn, or Easter if that helps you, as the sole available sidekick to carry spring’s periodic cleaning agenda across the year.
2. Take care of your staff: Your business’ week-to-week cleaning will certainly keep things looking acceptable and will no doubt play an important role in the accumulation of allergens, bacteria and general funk in your workplace, however its reach tends to be limited by time and access. To keep your environment healthy you really need to ensure that carpets are getting deeper cleans with steam and/or HEPA filters, vinyl flooring is stripped and resealed, and tiles, grout and wet areas get steamed. All of these surfaces gradually accrue nasties which are invisible to the human eye. So while they may look clean, if you’re not getting this sort of work done they are probably contributing to the amount of sick leave your staff are taking.
3. Take advantage of your staff: These periodic cleaning activities take up considerable time, both during and after their execution, and as such are likely to interfere with your staff’s ability to get on with their job if they are around. That’s what makes times such as Easter, when most businesses shut completely for a 4-day weekend and operate on a skeleton staff for the following week ideal for getting this sort of stuff out of the way.
4. Protect your assets: ever heard he idiom that prevention is better than a cure? Well it applies to things too – maintenance is far cheaper than replacement. Properly maintaining your flooring (carpets, vinyl, hardwood and tiles) and other soft furnishings (window coverings, etc) with regular maintenance will dramatically extend their lifespan and save your company big dollars in the long run. Re-flooring an office with commercial-grade flooring is far from a cheap exercise and extending its shelf-life by up to 50% is achievable with some foresight.
5. Don’t miss what little of the season there is: Autumn may not be all about the great outdoors, but that doesn’t mean you want to let it pass you while you’re stuck at your desk either. Use the season as a reminder to have your windows cleaned so that you and your staff can enjoy any red-brown autumn colours on display and the few visual cues of the season which do exist.
We implore you to join us in telling spring its tyrannical monopoly on seasonal cleanliness and organisation has come to end. Autumn cleaning is a thing and it should start catching on any time now!