Dan Rockwell recently gave some guidance in his blog about how to handle an employee that is constantly surrounded with clutter.  Since I have worked independently for more than 35 years, I am lucky not to have to deal with this.  If you do, see if any of his guidelines might be of help.

  • Don’t make a rule for your entire office, when you’re concerned about one person. Conversations are better than rules.
  • Explain your value. Make it about you, not research on the negative impact of cluttered work-spaces. There’s no reason to make her feel like a loser, if she’s a great Assistant Manager. You might say, “I should have been more clear about uncluttered office spaces.”
  • Ask her to keep her office uncluttered. Be kind and direct.
  • Make the conversation about what’s best for you and her.
  • Protect her from creating an unrealistic picture of an uncluttered office in her head. Give her a clear illustration of your expectation. 
  • Offer support. A few months ago, I eliminated paper when I started writing coaching notes with OneNote on my Surface Pro. I love it.
  • Keep the conversation going. Once in awhile clutter will return. How will you maintain a positive tone when you bring this up in the future?
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