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  • #2249247

    Tidiness and the Techie


    by chipshopman ·

    My team has a group of desktop engineers in it. Without exception, they all lack the concept of tidiness. Every day, I look at their desks and surrounding environment and dispair: Redundant desktops, old monitors, cables, unpacked boxes, towers of CDs defying gravity, stands, semi-disected laptops, a large box of keyboards… the list could go on. We have adequate storage, albeit not on our floor, and yet it continues.

    This kit could so easily get stolen or just ruined by someone kicking it, dropping it or stepping on it and it’s just not good practice to just leave kit lying about the place.

    The team gets a regular talking to by their team leader and yet it still goes on. I moan at them, tell them to get it shifted and yet it fails to move. I don’t want to resort to disciplinary procedures because that feels like overkill, but I need something to happen.

    I can’t be the only one to have this problem. What are people’s experiences, and in particular has anyone found a way of resolving the situation in a positive manner?

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  • Author
    • #3224348

      Quick and dirty method

      by mjd420nova ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      I used to take photos of each techs area and post them on the door. This kind of acted as a warning to those about to enter the area that they were about to enter a war zone. This usually solved the problem, the photos were seldom up more than a day before things got cleaned up. I set up cabinets for each catagory, keyboards, MOBO’s, hard drives, CD’s, software, power supplies ETC. At least that way they could close the doors of the cabinet. This usually happened on a two week basis, but I was happy, as they were seldom around and it at least meant they were out working and not playing games at their desks.

      • #3216795

        A good practice is to;

        by it-slave ·

        In reply to Quick and dirty method

        A former boss of mine made it a practice to have a place for everything and to put things back at the end of the day. He made it a ritual and generally made it a ritual for everyone. I know, I know when a server starts having problems that all is thrown to the wayside, but it only takes 5 minutes at the end of the day to clean everything up. It also gets you in the habit of putting things back while you use them, that way you can get out of the office at the end of the day if you have nothing to put back.

        • #3216737

          Ours is every Friday

          by zaferus ·

          In reply to A good practice is to;

          For the weekend out work space must be completely clean. The good part of this is that if you are in the middle of an install during the week you can leave things out and about but in a week things don’t tend to get too messy before you tidy up again.

        • #3216492


          by bitboss ·

          In reply to Ours is every Friday

          1. Constantly remind the techs that their workshop represents a health hazard. When that fails (as it will) plant some rats (really big ones) in the workshop.
          2. Post an email informing techs that on every Friday all unsecured equipment will be dumped by the maintenance crew – techies can’t stand throwing anything remotely electronic away.
          3. At the monthly staff get together – sacrifice a techie to the tidiness god over an open cooking pit and inform remaining techs that they must consume their former colleague to appease the wrath of the tidiness god (they’re an incredibly gullible lot – just look at Microsoft products).

    • #3224329


      by tink! ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      I don’t have a team working for me…therefore [b]I AM the culprit[/b] around here. 🙂

      You may need to actually go in and help them organize for the first time…take charge and create labeled boxes, shelves, cabinets, drawers or whatever is needed to get the stuff put away, and then setup a process like mjd’s photos 🙂 to keep it in order.

      I find that once you have set destinations for things, it’s much easier to keep things cleaned up. It’s getting that first organization done that’s the hardest.


      • #3288117

        Aahh, but then

        by w2ktechman ·

        In reply to Organization

        after everything gets tidied up, something new comes along, and then something else, and again…
        where to put everything???

        Personally I do cleanup often. Although my desk cannot be confused with anything but IT, it is sometimes cleaned up, for a few days at least…

        I have a storage room, and I even clean that out once in a while, and re-org, etc.
        But I have a problem trying to keep up. I mean right now I have a pile of 3 different types of docking stations. All still in use models, and 2 weeks ago it was only 2 types. Now I have to also deal with IPAQ’s and Blackberries, as 2 months ago, I didnt.
        finding places for things only works for short term. I mean if I only had certain types of HW around, that would be one thing, but most IT departments support a variety of things.

        • #3216786

          Make sure you provide the tools

          by solotech1 ·

          In reply to Aahh, but then

          I too am alone in the world of IT at my company. I am the sole IT person for a business that has multiple office locations across the state so you can imagine what my office looks like. Anything that comes under the title “equipment” is under my responsibility. It is definitely difficult at times to stay on top of it all with the limited time I have and so much to support, and as of yet I have not been given authority to purchase additional storage units despite asking for them several times over the last year.

          My two biggest suggestions to managers and supervisors of IT teams that need “cleaning up” would be as follows:

          1. Make sure your team has adequate storage for items in appropriate places.

          2. Make sure you allow time for them to clean up during their busy schedule.

    • #3224320

      Tidy?!?!? What’s that?

      by oldbag ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      I am the culprit here!

      My intentions are always good but I never seem to be able to catch up.

      • #3216728

        Institute Routine

        by addicted2speed ·

        In reply to Tidy?!?!? What’s that?

        Unless you have a very rare Techie employee, my experience has been that dedicated techies are often more-focused on getting things done than keeping their work area clean.

        My solution was to make it a Friday routine to leave the labs and work areas tidy. Basically once their areas were clear, the departments were “cleared” to leave.

        Also, instead of singling out individuals, leverage the power of peer pressure, where if one technician had a messy station, then everyone stayed (including myself) to help clean up.

        Of course there are clear exceptions to this, like when there is an on-going deployment or testing, or something of that nature. The work always came first… cleanliness was a secondary priority.

        • #3216569

          The key here…

          by inkling ·

          In reply to Institute Routine

          is that you would stay and clean with them.

          I started my IT career in the Marine Corps, where cleanliness = Godliness.

          Bottom line is, if you aren’t willing to inconvenience YOURSELF to get things done, your team most certainly won’t be bothered to inconvenience themselves.

    • #3224315

      A clean desk is the sign of a sick mind….

      by jamesrl ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      The best practise that I have seen, and I’ve both done the job and managed a large team of desktop techs, is to have a “bench” room with a lockable door. This is not their office/cubcile where they sit and do emails. Its a working room with the equipment they are disecting, spare parts etc.

      This can get a little cluttered but you can close the door, and lock it to prevent theft/loss.


    • #3224280

      The reality of the situation

      by jdmercha ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      What do they get paid to do? What do you evaluate them on come review time?

      As long as you are paying them to resolve problems, cleaning will always be a low priority. If you really want their areas cleaned then base their reviews on tidyness not on productivity.

    • #3224279

      I am cleaning ….

      by bigbigboss ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      I’ve had “Tidying up” as my annual performance objective for many years. So, I am not the one who can fix this.

      But I know what caused the problem – lack of storage space, and lack of time to put things in the right place. I love to clean up my office. I can do that, and delay all my projects by at least a week. Or, I can do most of the project on time, and answer the calls from users, and leave the work place a mess. I can also throw all these things away, and ask my boss to buy them when I need them again, as there is no place to put them.

      So, what should I do ? Or, more importantly, what should my boss do ? Tell me to clean up ?

      • #3216652

        I feel your pain…

        by solotech1 ·

        In reply to I am cleaning ….

        As I mentioned in my post above (see “Make sure you provide the tools”), my two biggest suggestions to managers and supervisors of IT teams that need “cleaning up” would be as follows:

        1. Make sure your team has adequate storage for items in appropriate places.

        2. Make sure you allow time for them to clean up during their busy schedule.

        If they can’t do those two things, then they really have no basis for commenting on it.

    • #3224275

      It took me decades to get there

      by nicknielsen ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      but I’ve finally reached the point that when I replace such components, I throw them in the recycle bin. PCs are a slightly different story, but most of them also get recycled.

      Project PCs require at most 2 keyboards or mouses: one each PS2 and USB. Monitors are authorized at one per interface connector type (VGA, DVI, etc.)

      Now, I just need to find somebody to come get this 5-cubic yard bin full of computers and parts…

      • #3224252

        Storage on another floor?

        by maevinn ·

        In reply to It took me decades to get there

        Really? To me, that wouldn’t count at all. Storage that isn’t conveniently located to the work space will not be used. Just a fact of life. Fix that, and then work with them to get everything tidied up, and you might see more cooperation. The other thing is to review a) Safety standards–if the mess creates a safety hazard, it needs to be cleaned up or could result in fines if OSHA comes to call. b) Security–identify high-theft items, or items that may contain confidential/sensitive business information need to be stored appropriately. c) Business rules. I’ve worked places where the boss said desks were to be clean and orderly before leaving each day. This means that it is a priority, even if it means other jobs don’t get done. End of story. In either case, clearly prioritizing the objectives resolves complaints either way come review time.

      • #3225171

        I did what the Boss told me to do

        by breadtrk ·

        In reply to It took me decades to get there

        I cleaned. Since they were stacked up in my cube, I put all of it in his office. I had no where else to store anything. I put everything in his office the night I left on 2 weeks Vacation to a Mission Orphanage in South Africa, no contact possible.

        Amazing thing when I came back to work, Cabinets, shelves, and even 3 new LCD’s on my desk. I have no problem keeping clean and organized when I have someplace to put things.

        Don’t bother your bread winners unless you have someplace for them to put their stuff.

      • #3216626

        Check on this, Nick

        by sstuchel ·

        In reply to It took me decades to get there

        See if you have a local chapter on It’s a group on Yahoo that has a moderator, but often people are looking for parts or components. The only catch is that it has to be FREELY given away. I have also donated to local boys/girls clubs and startup libraries.

        • #3216517

          Looks interesting

          by nicknielsen ·

          In reply to Check on this, Nick

          Once I figured out that you meant freecycle.ORG and found the site, I checked it out. I will keep it in mind next time I clean house. In my current job, though, the client provides all parts and equipment and requires that I return everything to them so they can dispose of it. There will also be a great deal less of it after their recent changeover to Neoware thin clients.

    • #3224856

      Storage & Prioritisation

      by chipshopman ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      Well, thanks everyone for the responses. It looks to be a universal problem and I think it’s going to continue to be a problem!

      Interestingly we’ve just moved out of an area where we had a bench-room/shelving with labelled boxes, etc. and that office space wasn’t much better.

      You’re right though, I’m not reviewing the team on how tidy they are, I review them on how quickly they resolve calls and how many they resolve so make the place tidy is going to come low down on their list of priorities.

      I think I’m going to do something along the lines of photographs and see what happens! And maybe give everyone an hour slot each week where they do nothing but tidy up.

      • #3288058

        Make them want to tidy up….

        by wadloper ·

        In reply to Storage & Prioritisation

        What I do, on a fortnightly basis, is to give them on Friday one hour before close of play to tidy up: If it’s not done in that hour, it will eat in their own time. If someone is away, tough, the remainder of the staff will tidy up for him/her. If the tidy-up is finished before the hour is up, they can go home. It has resulted in a very relaxed atmosphere on Fridays and the place look better for it.

    • #3224756

      cleaning can cause problems

      by shellbot ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      for instance, on monday i sat at my desk and though “yikes, this is becoming a health hazard”

      So spent a good 3 hours tidying, sorting, filing etc

      now i can’t find a dang thing! i had a perfectly good thing going, i knew what each pile contained and how long it had bene i am lost.

      i realise now i should have just left it untill the christmas break!!!!!!!!!

      • #3224618

        It’s your own fault

        by nnielsen ·

        In reply to cleaning can cause problems

        You couldn’t just clean, could you? You had to [u]tidy[/u]! :0


        Cleaning – removing old food particles, wrappers, napkins, crumbs, soda cans, coffee cups, etc.

        Tidying – rearranging the paperwork and other material occupying your work area in an effort to make things look pretty. Often results in the elimination of an efficient informal filing system.

      • #3224616

        totally with you on that Shell!

        by tink! ·

        In reply to cleaning can cause problems

        [b]Organized Chaos[/b]

        That’s what I live by! At home and at work.

        When you live in a mess, but know where everything is…it only messes you up when it gets cleaned up and organized. I do admit that about every 3-6 months I get a “nesting” fit and feel the urge to tidy up. Then for the next few weeks I can’t find anything!

        Tink 🙂

        • #3223311

          Easy solution, Tink

          by tig2 ·

          In reply to totally with you on that Shell!

          When you feel the urge to “nest”… LEAVE!!! Run from your home and go to a local hotel. Stay there until the urge passes.

          I am experiencing the yearly urge to tidy and am resisting it to the best of my ability. We transformed an unused room to be an office that my partner and I will share. We plan to get furniture for it this weekend. Then we will move into it. And I will NOT be able to finish making Christmas cards or my nephew’s scrapbook because I will be able to find NOTHING!

          Trust me- a few days at a local hotel will be much less stressful!

        • #3225269

          Just excuses!

          by mdbradsh ·

          In reply to Easy solution, Tink

          I’ve worked with people and this problem for more than 35 years. All this complaining is just excuses for laziness in picking up after themselves and being organized! I have found that most people with this problem grew up with their Momma doing it for them and they never had to do it for themselves. All this talk of ALWAYS being too busy is just plain BS! If you give them the space, place to put things, and a little dedicated time, then they should be doing it, plain and simple! Clean up should be a part of their evaluation as much as anything else. Clutter and mess are unsafe! Ask any OSHA inpector or Fire Marshall! If you can’t find things after clean up then you’re not doing it right! The goal is to make it easier to find things and yet keep it neat, clean and safe! That’s why there are file cabinets, folders, labels, boxes, markers and the like. If your a boss, THEN BE A BOSS and lay the law down on it!

        • #3225210

          Hear, Hear!!!

          by lfh003 ·

          In reply to Just excuses!

          I wholeheartily agree while this rant from mdbrandsh…This pride in being messy, and bragging about it, is not an example of how an IT shop should be run. The messy techs complain of not being able to find things after cleaning up…dud! Clean up and label you resources. Don’t have room? Where is your manager? If that person is non-IT, then it is time for training. How have YOU or your boss allowed this department to sink so low in priority…has it been because the department is so messy it commands no respect? Grow up or get out.

        • #3216585

          Ok, make sure that

          by w2ktechman ·

          In reply to Hear, Hear!!!

          there are no more IT emergencies for the next week so that it can get done properly.
          Then make sure that the space is available, even when new and unexpected items arrive.
          And make sure that we have time to go over inventory (no HDD failures this week).
          And make sure that ALL end users know that the IT department is doing other tasks and do not have time to deal with problems, and leave a message telling them to reboot and everything will be OK for another week.

          It all depends on your role, space, and how busy you are. It is not just being lazy, so I have to disagree completely. When I am not busy, I often tidy up once a week. When I am busy, I am staying late without pay, crunching to make sure that a high level attorney is still up and running for the weekend, and if the legal svr team needs help, aiding them.
          just stating that if it is not always clean is being ignorant of a technicians job duties. It makes assumptions that we are all too lazy to get things done, but if management would staff better, this should not be an issue at all.

        • #3224939

          wow..must be nice to be perfect

          by shellbot ·

          In reply to Just excuses!

          sorry we don’t meet your standards..

          50% of me says wow, i’d like to work for someone who realises that it takes time to do these things, but the other half of me says thank you god that i don’t, because i’d probably walk out.

          Tell ya what, I’ll stop making excuses when:
          1. I get space to store my files and folders
          2. A place to put whatever storage facilitis i may get
          3. Any dedicated time to tidy any of it up

          Below is a list of my excuses of why i cannot find time to tidy my desk:
          1. There is 1 of me mainataining and supporting a database & database application for over 280 users
          2. I do all paperwork, research, support calls etc etc etc
          3. I get dragged to meetings 3-4 times a week which are a complete waste of my time
          4. 90% of my energy goes into keeping the d@mn thing up and running while trying to impart the importance of the system to higher management
          5. Documents: higher management wants written reports on: change requests, bug reports, work done to date, work for the future, enhancements required, enhancements which would be nice, integration issues with other applications..etc etc..and they are all HIGH PRIORITY..they need them yesterday.
          6. Because all those documents have to be done first, i’ve over 30 open support issues..about 20 calls a day come in..
          7. IIS has to be restarted up to 3 times a day because there is a memory leak in the application..and because “we care” i have to call all depts to tell them i am doing so.
          8. I must record all support calls/emails & resolutions and file them…
          9. Oh ya, and in the run up to year end, I’m trying to do a data audit and get it clean so the statistics we release to the government are in tip top shape..
          10. Plus, with me being the only one who has any IT knowledge, I get to show everyone how to use Excel, Access, Word, Outlook..and whatever else they have on thier pc. Not sure how my SQL & VB experience will help with figuring out why the internet connection is funny either..

          But oh well..maybe you would be good enough to have a word with my boss for me? Let me know, I’ll be here till 5 or so..i’ll get home about 7, but by the time i put some clothes to wash and get dinner started I’ll probably be to exhausted to care.
          Maybe if i get to bed before 12 i can get a bit of sleep before i am up at 6.30 to go to work..
          If i’ve a few minutes, maybe i’ll tidy my desk..could file away all those open issues under “who gives a rats @ss

          I have been “the boss” several times, and i didn’t give a thought to my teams desks..they worked hard and got the job much so that i would frequently reward them with bonuses..even though thier desks were untidy.

          Happy Monday 🙂

        • #3288360

          Right there with you, Shell

          by tig2 ·

          In reply to wow..must be nice to be perfect

          I’m considering getting the heck out of IT for just the reasons you mention. We’ve gone to the stupid zone on a lot of this.

          I have worked for companies with a clean desk policy. I manage to clean desk everywhere, just in case. In this sub-thread, some wanker decided that my tongue-in-cheek response to Tink was somehow serious so decided to go on a rant. Sheesh!

          I have found the perfect method of managing my paper flow. I have a shredder. It works for me.

          The reality is that I rarely need the paper I generate. I have logs of how I manage my time on a thumb drive so I can produce whatever paper I need by hitting print. But after a 10 hour day, followed by laundry, housework, supper, and, during this season, Christmas, I fall into bed late and get up early.

          So I do understand. You aren’t alone.

          Don’t let the wankers get to you. They don’t get it.

        • #3288312

          not sure

          by shellbot ·

          In reply to Right there with you, Shell

          if men have a different take on it..but the last thing on my mind is cleaning my desk before i go home to clean the house.

          as for the all the people who are saying to just get on with it, its nice they have a job that allows them time..i wonder if they get coffee breaks as well? i bet they

          ah, i’ve thought of geting out of the game, but then i think no..i like it..and just because this job is keeping me on my toes, doesn’t mean all jobs will..

          i have my stuff stored electronically, but “they” like to have papers in binders..

          ugh..that post was just the last thing i needed on a monday morning after 5 hours sleep, coming in to frantic calls that the system had crashed..

          hence my annoyance. normally i don’t pay them any notice..i reckon in a few years when i’m thier boss i’ll make em pay..


          take it easy Tig..

        • #3288244


          by tink! ·

          In reply to Right there with you, Shell

          I DO have places to store things. If I don’t I FIND them or I MAKE them. We are not condoning laziness here…merely pointing out the commonplaceness of Organized Chaos due to the lack of time on our part to file or clean. I’m sure we all try to put things in a semi-organized manner…but that doesn’t necessarily mean actually putting the piece of paper in the proper file cabinet drawer exactly at the time of completion due to the fact that you’re already immersed in another project. More likely than not it means putting the paper in a file or stack somewhere on the desk or working area. These stacks/files will build up until someone actually says “Oh you know what this project really isn’t as high of a priority as I told you…go ahead and clean”
          And since THAT doesn’t happen too often…we continue in our organized chaos until we find the time ourselves.

        • #3216557


          by inkling ·

          In reply to wow..must be nice to be perfect

          You could be tidying up instead of posting on this blog! =)

          Happy Holidays!

        • #3216536


          by 2rs ·

          In reply to Or…

          I find it comforting to know that other IT folks have “Clean my office” as a yearly Goal!

        • #3216539

          we have identical jobs!!

          by 2rs ·

          In reply to wow..must be nice to be perfect

          Shellbot, thanks for taking the time to itemize my daily responsibilites. Item 10 is at the top of my excuse list & probably takes 50% of my time, especially when a new employee arrives, complete with “Knowledge of commonly used software”. I need to work on tidying up after completing each task, true. Since when is an IT person bestowed the capability to use EVERY feature of EVERY software program used within the company? Is there a dust-flinging fairy that I need to meet? Happy Holidaze!

        • #3288250

          I think you missed a point

          by rhomp20029 ·

          In reply to Just excuses!

          You apparently missed the point where the only storage was on another floor. What good is that? If you have to schlep to an elevator or stairs everytime you need something and then schlep it back when you are done you will not keep a clean neat place.

          Maybe the answer is to split up the work area and the storage area and make the two areas combination storage and work places. That way your employees can have a place to store things convenient to where they need them. Having them separate enough to be on different floors is a recipe for a mess.

          In my experience of over 40 years in the IT business I have found that some people work best in messes and some people work best in places where they have everything clean and neat. One of my friends worked for the FBI on a contract and they even went to the stage where you could only have 3 pieces of paper on you desk at a time. You saw everybody working with their drawers open and they were looking in this drawer for that item and the other drawer for the other item so they could do the job. Totally not a workable solution.

      • #3225253

        This says more about you though!

        by jwm.mckay ·

        In reply to cleaning can cause problems

        People that have a desk like that generally have a brain that works in the same fashion. Sometimes it’s more about defiance but either way I find just throwing it all into the skip outside soon solves the problem. Especially after the 2nd time! Order and structure in the workplace every time!

        • #3225154

          Couldn’t do that here in the US

          by nicknielsen ·

          In reply to This says more about you though!

          Might be compliance paperwork in that mess. Could also be your invoices from last week. Who needs to get paid?

          Good thing we’re not in the same workplace…one of us would have a breakdown and I doubt it would be me.

        • #3225131

          Nobody mentioned invoices !

          by jwm.mckay ·

          In reply to Couldn’t do that here in the US

          My colleagues are forever leaving scrap lying around with the good stuff. Trouble is you can’t tell some bad parts till you fit them, and if you fit an intermittent problem in you can end up with a lot of head scratching. There is NO excuse for not keeping your workplace in a semblence of order. In fact most of the muppets ask the rest of us for parts as they can’t trust what’s near them. Just bin it or make them evaluate it.

          As for breakdown… If someone can’t do their job it ain’t my problem. One warning then take action. I don’t care beyond that and certainly wouldn’t lose sleep over confronting anyone about it. Stop covering up for the lazy gits and get them off their butts now!

        • #3288229

          They didn’t mention not being able to find anything

          by tink! ·

          In reply to Nobody mentioned invoices !

          only that the area was messy and cluttered.

          Organized chaos is commonplace…it means the area looks messy, but if you ask the tech for something or to do something…they know exactly where to go to find what they need or what you need. Organization isn’t necessarily always neat…even if you have shelves, cabinets, and drawers and also have everyting labelled and tagged…all you end up with is stuffed shelves, cabinets and drawers along with a clutter of tagged stuff.

          The best techs probably work best in organized chaos…but if you give them time at the end of a week (or beginning of a week) where no one is bother them…then they should be able to put everything away.

          If techs are mixing old parts with new parts within the clutter…than that is laziness…in Organized Chaos you at least keep things like that separated.

        • #3216666

          You mentioned desks

          by nicknielsen ·

          In reply to Nobody mentioned invoices !

          Desks have paperwork, which can include invoices.

          Benches, which I believe were the original subject, have parts.

        • #3216575


          by w2ktechman ·

          In reply to Nobody mentioned invoices !

          I have lots of things, but I keep post-its on everything (bad, good, need to check, etc.) and I also keep other pertinent info on it in case it is needed. That way, when it dies down and I have time, there is a small heap for me to go through. If it is marked as bad, I need to determine if I need to send it back or recycle it, or in the case of a HDD, do I need to scrub it. If it is marked as good, I need to put it away, if it is marked for me to test it, I place it in another area completely. When I have more time, I will go through that pile as well.

          Just tossing out lots of stuff because You are too lazy to look through it, is a bad policy. If it is a needed item, the company needs to purchase it again. Not to mention, recycling. Yes, recycling computer components are a must. Keep the majority out of the landfills. Throwing it all out may make your desk look clean, but it is not the proper thing to do

        • #3225130

          Nobody mentioned invoices !

          by jwm.mckay ·

          In reply to Couldn’t do that here in the US

          My colleagues are forever leaving scrap lying around with the good stuff. Trouble is you can’t tell some bad parts till you fit them, and if you fit an intermittent problem in you can end up with a lot of head scratching. There is NO excuse for not keeping your workplace in a semblence of order. In fact most of the muppets ask the rest of us for parts as they can’t trust what’s near them. Just bin it or make them evaluate it.

          As for breakdown… If someone can’t do their job it ain’t my problem. One warning then take action. I don’t care beyond that and certainly wouldn’t lose sleep over confronting anyone about it. Stop covering up for the lazy gits and get them off their butts now!

        • #3288393

          Mild OCD…

          by nebstanton ·

          In reply to Nobody mentioned invoices !

          I have adopted a clean (ish) and methodical approach to workspace at every place I have worked. I personally like my bench to be (relatively) tidy and clutter free.

          At present, I have 2 TFT wall mounted, a 6-port KVM and 2 base units (under the desk). To my right I have a shiney new galvanised racking unit with tough boxes populating it entirely. I have everything boxed and labelled from new parts to 2nd user spares).

          All bits and bobs are stored and easily accessible. Now I have to admit, the units and boxes cost ?600ish but the time saved being able to place my hands on what I want and when I want it – priceless. Plus, somebody new to the deptartment can locate things simply and without fuss.

          I have a dedicated box called the ‘Graveyard’ where anything dead goes (and gets emptied once a week for recycling). Any components not fully tested go into another box for a rainy day (or odd jobs for a newbie).

          A tidy workspace is a happy, efficient workspace!

        • #3224930


          by jp ·

          In reply to Couldn’t do that here in the US

          If a messy desk denotes a messy mind. Then what does it say if you have an empty desk ???????

        • #3223945

          You can’t read can you….

          by jwm.mckay ·

          In reply to IF………………..

          Nobody said empty but you’re so prejudiced you didn’t get the picture! Tidy in the sense someone can walk in and find the current software cut without firing up the pile of old versions; tidy in the sense of redundant job sheets put in the bin or filed; tidy in the sense that I can pick up a DIMM without wondering if it works.

          Read the detail next time please.

      • #3225149

        I clean yearly, or so

        by jdclyde ·

        In reply to cleaning can cause problems

        Generally, I have an average of four projects I am working on, on and off, as the day goes through. This means everything HAS to stay out until the job is done.

        Recently, I was able to finish up all of the projects, and thus FILE everything away. Guess what? The top of my desk really has a nice wood grain that I never noticed before….. 😀

        I also got rid of a lot of the equipment that was being worked on, and am down to three monitors (all being used) and five PC’s, (mostly being used).

        The main thing I do is try to get rid of furniture. Getting rid of that makes the small office look bigger.

        Oh yeah, I work in the “cursed office” The THREE people before me that had that office were all fired. (I am going on 10 years).

      • #3288304

        that’s a good point

        by locolobo ·

        In reply to cleaning can cause problems

        Organization is more than just neatness. If you know where everything is and can access it you’re organized. imo.

        My rule of thumb is when I don’t know what’s under the stacks anymore, it’s time to sort it out. Usually once or twice a year.

    • #3223096

      Offer an award

      by hyposave ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      WE had the same problem, messy desktops, mountain high cd collections, enough LAN cabling to repel off the building etc. The solution was simple, everyday the manager would give a “grade” to the tech support team. The grade included overall tech support, user feedback, a few more others and of course cleanliness. Those who got a grade of 85 and above would see a bonus on their paycheck. It really did work since everyone did their part, and it didn;t really cost the firm that much.

      • #3216643

        Bribery does work

        by leon.nel ·

        In reply to Offer an award

        I am probably the worst person to give advice on this subject as my desk is always in a state. But like everyone else I go through fases where I feel the urge to tidy up.

        Its difficult to get Desktop support enigeers to do this without them seeing the benifits so every other Friday I have a planned tidy up in their calendar followed by a meeting at the pub, where I buy them all a pint.

        This way we all get stuck in and my team feel appreciated for trying to keep the place clean. UI guess the only problem with this approach is that they might just let it get untidy to get a round of beers out of me.

    • #3225262

      5S audit

      by t.a.wiser ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      Google for “5S audit” and you will find a methodology for applying to office areas. It encourages organisation and tidyness. Worth investigating.

    • #3225252

      Information Security Policy

      by lfh003 ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      Considering the size and scope of AOL and your function withing that organization, I want to ask, “Is there any security policies in place?” Even though you state that many items are lying about, and not quite stealable (CRT’s), corporations have, at least, a ‘Clean Desk Policy’…all encompassing. In my area of employment, if a person can not comply with company policies they need to find employment elsewhere.

    • #3225247

      you may be fighting an unwinnable battle

      by mark vii ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      I used to run the network of a former employer, and our work area always looked like a mad scientists basement. I like to have what I’m supposed to be working on in plain view, and the parts or supplies I may need right at hand.

      Now that I’m a business analyst, my cube is a collection of file folders, stacks of notes, printouts, etc. It’s organized, but in a manner known only to me.

      I have no studies to back this up, but based on my observations over 20 + years in this business, I think you’re dealing with a basic characteristic that common among techhies.


      • #3288194

        Pile organization is a valid method

        by endwarde ·

        In reply to you may be fighting an unwinnable battle

        For years people have joked with me about “how can I find things” and all of that because I organize in piles. My desk and work area looks like a mess, but it’s all papers and cables and equipment. There isn’t anything growing fuzz or that would smell bad.
        There are certain things which are always organized. The server racks have neat and orderly wiring. All invoices and things I need to process for paperwork goes in one place on my desk so nothing gets lost or misplaced.
        Some people who are neat-nuts can’t imagine that I am able to get anything done. They can’t see it because their brains are wired to only work when their area are tidy. I am totally the opposite. I don’t feel comfortable or am able to work efficiently in an area which is to neat or tidy.
        I read an article a year or so ago about how studies on people who organize in piles find that most are actually as or more productive as people who are supposedly more “organized”. It’s not that we’re not organized, it’s that our organization just doesn’t look as nice.
        To me, as an employee and a boss, I care about results. If someone gets his work done, his paperwork processed and his desk isn’t a health hazard, then I don’t care if he’s not tidy.
        If he isn’t getting his work done, then we need to explore what is and isn’t working for that person. Some people can’t work in a mess.
        I have to say that the biggest clean nuts that I have encountered over the years invariably have had some control issues that they really need to work out. 🙂

        • #3216750


          by tink! ·

          In reply to Pile organization is a valid method

          Many of us are wired to work best messy.

        • #3216533

          “they” don’t understand us

          by 2rs ·

          In reply to Exactly!

          I am so grateful that there really are others wired this way. I’ve spent my entire working life “proving” that I can find something because I can remember which pile it’s in. At home, too. My S.O. goes nuts because everything is in piles and “helps” me by organizing…….

    • #3225245

      They will clean up to find it

      by josephine181 ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      If you start taking some of their most important work and hiding it away from the mess.

    • #3225231

      Can you say “anal-retentive”?

      by daved ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder:

      A pervasive pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and mental and interpersonal control, at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:

      is preoccupied with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost

      shows perfectionism that interferes with task completion (e.g., is unable to complete a project because his or her own overly strict standards are not met)

      is excessively devoted to work and productivity to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships (not accounted for by obvious economic necessity)

      is overconscientious, scrupulous, and inflexible about matters of morality, ethics, or values (not accounted for by cultural or religious identification) is unable to discard worn-out or worthless objects even when they have no sentimental value

      is reluctant to delegate tasks or to work with others unless they submit to exactly his or her way of doing things
      adopts a miserly spending style toward both self and others; money is viewed as something to be hoarded for future catastrophes

      shows rigidity and stubbornness

      (American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. Washington, DC, 1994)

    • #3225226

      Do they have a place to work?

      by chipotle1 ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      As a computer tech that supports about 400 PC’s I know the story. I was always in a rush because users can’t wait. Since I didn’t have a workbench I had to fix everything, from printers to cpu’s. Where? Over my desk. As soon you finish one equipment there is another ticket to fix another. Provide those guys a space to work and you’ll see the difference.

      • #3225224


        by ibanezoo ·

        In reply to Do they have a place to work?

        I second this. We are given a tiny space to work in and have 4 guys to support 800 users. Theres just no space or time to keep up. Every once in awhile, usually around the holidays when it is slow, we will have a trash fest and go through and trash just about anything laying around. But it only stays clean for a matter of days.

    • #3225215

      Ya’all need some interns

      by val_k ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      I’m frequently amazed by how many supervisors are willing to pay techie wages for cleaning services. Interns, administrative support and janitorial support people make wonderful assistants for this type of task in any business and keep your skilled staff focused on the work they’re paid to do.

      Of course you need organized storage space close to the work area of the folks who need the supplies. Pictures are a nice touch, labels work just as well. It doesn’t take a bachelor’s degree to identify a video card or a USB cable. Have someone come in once a week to put stuff away. It’s easy to sell this idea to executives too since they’re all about squeezing every last penny of value out of their payroll dollars.

      Good luck!

      • #3225196

        o/c disorders, control freaks, osho, ad infinitim

        by bob in fl ·

        In reply to Ya’all need some interns

        There are some darn good responses here. I’m the o/c guy who will clean up everything “perfectly” & begin re-creating chaos immediately afterward. Clutter is part of the job description for a good techie.

        Solution of the problem begins with facing your own shortcomings, like being a control freak. If this upset you, trust me, it fits. Your job is to set the standards for how much & what kind of clutter to allow, not to eliminate it all. Keep it very short & simple. The priorities are safety first, security second, & nothing else third. Spell out consequences & rewards & follow though. Every time. Excuses like, “I can’t find it” simply means they have not organized well enough, or they could find anything.

        We can’t change anyone. To try is to play God. The hours are impossible & the pay sucks. We can make it easier for them to convince themselves.

    • #3225206

      Just a matter of discipline!

      by mdbradsh ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      Excuses, excuses! It’s really just a matter of some self discipline. If you simply train yourself to pick up and put away your stuff after you’ve finished working on something, or things, then it becomes automatic. It only takes a few minutes, at most, to put away tools, paperwork, or whatever as soon as your finished. Yes, you have to be organized and have places for your things. It’s really a part of the overall job that your getting paid for. And when the person paying you expects it, then you should learn to do it. Why should they pay someone else to clean up YOUR lazy messes. C’mon people!

      • #3225189

        Was never paid to do cleanup

        by rndmacts ·

        In reply to Just a matter of discipline!

        Cleanup was never in my job description, my desk was always disorganized in everyone elses eyes, but I knew what every binder contained, every stack of CD’s held and the order they were piled. I did quarterly purges when there was time, I worked with some who insisted on keeping their desks super clean, and they were always wasting time by running to the file room to retrieve their notes or bugging me for a copy of software because they didn’t file theirs correctly. They were wasting their time and mine in the process and when it came to downsizing, I watched many of them let go because my productivity on the job was always better and I managed my budgets much better than they did.

        If your staff is being productive and they are not wasting time searching for items, then just lock your doors at night when people shouldn’t be in your work area. My bosses put a warning on my door beside my name plate, Chaos zone – do not move anything or risk your computer dying.

      • #3225153

        Not as easy as you make it out

        by nicknielsen ·

        In reply to Just a matter of discipline!

        In my current job, cleanup is mandatory. If I don’t clean up, I leave tools behind and may be 200 miles away when I need that tool again. In a work environment that requires only floor or building changes, cleaning up behind yourself goes by the way when you get the “drop it all and go” call. Once you have left the mess, you probably won’t get back to it that day or for many more days.

        I once had a manager who constantly complained that I did not clean up behind myself and then complained that I did not respond fast enough because I was cleaning up. I didn’t see it as my problem then and don’t see it as my problem now. If it’s not a customer service area, what’s the big deal? Why can’t your techs work comfortably?

      • #3288242

        You missed it again

        by rhomp20029 ·

        In reply to Just a matter of discipline!

        The poster who started this said the only storage was on another floor. You haul all the parts and other materials to another floor and back and forth for every job you do and then tell me how productive you would be. That is the whole problem. Until the poster can get a reasonable setup with storage and workplace together there will either be a mess or a whole lot of dissatisfied users waiting for someone to fix the problems. You are not going to have it both ways.

      • #3216744

        Okay, you’re right. So what?

        by pjfromottawa ·

        In reply to Just a matter of discipline!

        I find laziness, as a programmer, is actually valuable to my work because I’m always looking for efficiencies, because it’s in my nature. Laziness is the mother of invention and I don’t think it’s as bad as you make it out to be.

        My boss is the exact opposite of me, and is VERY tidy. But we work well together because we’re DIFFERENT. Once in a while he’ll joke about my work area but not as often as he would if he really needed a pickle-ectomy.

        Discipline?? Good idea, Sarge. You probably have hospital corners on your bed, too. I don’t care because then my focus is elsewhere.

        You need a good “movement”, I think.

    • #3225191

      My take (managers used to like that cliche…lol)

      by r3d ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      If you are saying you have storage on another floor that is one thing. If you are saying it is used as storage and testing and as a workcenter for your builds, that is quite another.

      I have seen many different scenarios for this combination, including a narrow server room used also as a test center and build station; never have I seen a more disgusting server room in all my experience, lol.

      You need to work with your IT managers on getting appropriate space for testing, building, and storage. If your guys are doing the builds in their offices, then you have to face the fact that they are going to have a problem keeping their space tidy after working on builds and troubleshooting tickets all day. You might think about storage cabinets in their offices, OR getting an office space to accomadate cabinets for high traffic items.

      Also, I would not suggest using gifts for services rendered as a method of encouragement to keep thier workspace clean. You shouldn’t have to dangle the provervial carrot on a stick to get your team motivated to do something that should a part of their job. Mentioning that this will be a big part of what their review will be based on, should be sufficient. Pictures are a good idea as well. people tend to forget precisely to what extent they were a slob.

      Here’s some guidelines to help:

      OLD: If it’s not going to be used in 60 days, and you think you will need it, put it in storage.

      USED: If it will be used possibly immediately, put it in high traffic storage, closer to your offices. IE. – Cabinet or desk.

      TRASH: If it will never get used, either dispose of it or give it away to recycle.

      Make sure you have bins to place small parts in, label them appropriately and place the bins inside a cabinet or on a worktable. your guys have to have a place to put the equipment and still be able to utilize it effectively.

      Good luck!


    • #3225163

      Quite simple

      by bluron ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      hire somebody to clean up and store the product and boxes etc. then split the cost of the clean up between the offenders. After awhile they should get the picture.

    • #3225159


      by steve-nyeoka ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      You need to decide what is more importiant.
      Even though I try to 5S my workspace, I find it’s toward the bottom of my list as I am at nearly everyone’s beck-and-call, and rarely get to leave on time (normally go home a hour late daily). If I took the time to organize and clean to a visually appealing standard, I would literally have to do in in place of something else.

      The good news for me:
      1) my office has a door so my boss asks me to keep it closed when plan tours are taking place (a “Authorized Personal Only” sign from my former job adds to the effect)
      2) I normally work several days of our december shutdown week, so I perform a decent annual cleanup.

      • #3225112


        by oriwan ·

        In reply to Decide

        I too, have my own piles of paperwork (usually work notes, that if filed would exist forever).
        I know where most are until I sort/dispose of them, every couple of months. I don’t think this is a big deal, my desk is a landing zone for me, not a museum for others. New managers and directors will base your productivty on how clean your desk is until they experience or learn from others what kind of work you do.

        I always have more that 4 tasks happening on my desk at any given time. Most may not think this is a good thing, many will agree that it is not uncommon. Please try to remember who you called when you “need to have this fixed immediately”.

        Most of our techs work on one issue at a time. It should not take days to stage something for outside repair or recycling where it belongs.I think bins would work great. If it is broken toss it in and send it to recycling when they are full. But you need BIG bins on wheels, not the little 18×30 in ones you buy at Wally World.

        My big complaint is untagged broken stuff (Printers, keyboards, old cables-you know you will NEVER use again)

        I just wonder what kind of “present” will be sitting in the middle of the operations office on Monday morning…I think this is where the attention needs to start. Maybe by the year 2010 we can get to my papers. I am going to take a look at this 5s audit that was mentioned in the earlier threads though….it sure would be nice to walk into a clean desk, wait for the phone to ring and talk to someone with just one problem.

    • #3225100

      Ditch It!

      by paulw.vendy ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      Our management looked at our workshop area, decided it was untidy, ditched the lot, good & bad, and removed the workshop! Problem solved, from their perspective! Those little bits that we had hoarded never solved a problem ever again, but the place LOOKED GOOD! Three years on, we are still looking for odd parts, for old machines, & taking forever to complete simple tasks … DOH! Perhaps a bit of mess has to be tolerated!

      • #3225091

        Interesting management philosophy

        by nicknielsen ·

        In reply to Ditch It!

        I ran into this philosophy several times when I was in the USAF: If it looks good, chances are it is good.

        You would not believe some of the things I was required to do to satisfy adherents of this philosophy. One of them (not familiar with equipment accountability) decided that he needed to be personally involved and tried to do the “ditch the lot” thing on his own. We came in the next morning to find completely clean workbenches and no equipment, with no knowledge of what had happened. He walked in later that day to find us writing police statements for the theft of over $500k of tools and equipment. It was a great lesson for him.

        • #3225082

          been there, done that….

          by dawgit ·

          In reply to Interesting management philosophy

          it kind of sums it up.
          One thing that should be learned very early on- “If it don’t belong to you don’t touch it!” That should be on a sign, posted over every work place. Out siders have NO business passing judgement over the tech staff, most have no clue what the techies are doing anyway. I do believe it was mentioned somewhere above, -Total Control Freeks, trying to control what they don’t understand in the first place. When a mess is bad, it will get cleaned up. It just happens. In the mean time leave the tech staff alone, and let them do their job. (Has anyone ever seen a surgery in progress, real messy stuff, would you want to tell the Doc he must stop to clean up, before he’s done?)

        • #3288344

          Yeah, not a good comparison…

          by fbuchan ·

          In reply to been there, done that….

          I don’t disagree with a bit of mess, but comparing tech work to surgery and using that as an excuse for not being orderly is overdoing it. After every surgery, they do clean the operating theatre.

          Even though I buy into the “some mess required” philosophy, I think the description in the original blurb indicates a long-term disorder. And while I don’t adhere to the need for spic’n’span work areas, I have seen the long-term refuse effect and have to say it isn’t really defensible. It’s just lazy; and, consequently, it’s one of the reasons IT techs take so much heat from other branches. The guys who sign the cheques are frequently bean-counters, after all, and they view the chaos through their perspective.

          A lot of techs seem to be proponents of the “I can find it in the known pile” philosophy. There are a lot of workplaces today where that simply doesn’t cut it, and hiding the gold under a mound of manure isn’t an effective way of defending one’s job in the current market anyhow. A middle-ground is where the desk looks like something exploded until the present task is done, after which you sweep away all but the required debris. Anything else is ineffecicient.

          As for advice, which is what the chap was asking for, unless the other tech’s workplaces are spilling into yours, it isn’t your problem. If the common traffic areas are filled, ask them to shift it to a safer spot and then move it yourself if they can’t be bothered. Each to his own in the corral. Ultimately, it is the job of a manager to impose standards.

        • #3216690

          you’re right…

          by dawgit ·

          In reply to Yeah, not a good comparison…

          it was a bit dramatic, I admit that. But the process is the same. Here, there is always something in varing stages of ‘surgery’. I think (but can’t / won’t talk for everyone here) that in this field, at least this end of it, there are always works in progress, the job is never done. Maybe that is the core of the problem.

      • #2502276

        Sure, we can store stuff

        by coopster ·

        In reply to Ditch It!

        The fire marshall came by and said we can’t have misc stuff stacked in corners, etc. Not an impediment to escape, just “too much” stuff.

        Nope, no room in any building for us to have storage. So fine. Where to store it? At a retail store: ie., throw it away, when we need another- buy it. Hmm. Old unit, new repair parts unavailable? Too bad. Time to upgrade! Sure, it’s pretty expensive, but the room looks fairly tidy!

    • #3224944

      It’s just like personal hygiene

      by waltershirley ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      After many years of working as a diesel mechanic, I find this is a rather easily solved problem. Clean up after yourself after every job. It only takes a minute or two. Put your tools in place so that you can find them readily available on the next job. Throw out/recycle as necessary. That hardware that doesn’t work now won’t work 2 months or 2 years from now. Toss it.
      Everything that’s important, you’ve learned in kindergarten – if it’s your mess clean it.
      Tideness isn’t something complicated. It’s the same as having a shower daily, not just when a review comes around.
      Time to grow up, boys and girls.

    • #3224920

      Sort it out!

      by andy the it bloke ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      I know the feeling. Everywhere I work, things are messy.

      Many working hours are lost through time spent looking for a CD or having to clear a space to put a PC on your desk for repair.

      One point I’ll make is that technicians seem to have all the time in the world to browse the web or chat to mates using Messenger, but they never have time to put tools back in the toolbox, packaging in the bin or CD’s back in the filing cabinet.

      A bit of discipline is needed.

      • #3216755

        What has worked for me

        by svilla8874 ·

        In reply to Sort it out!

        It’s very easy to find excuses for this behavior. I worked in a department of 3 where things could easily get out of hand. Periodically (usually every couple of weeks) we’d decide to clean. All together. No excuses. What we found is that we kept our areas in order, we could find things, and we didn’t stockpile any old useless junk becuase we dealt with clearing it out on a regular basis. Before I worked with these guys, I had some bad habits about not keeping up with the mess, but I’m a convert now. It only takes a commitment and no excuses.

    • #3224919

      Sort it out!

      by andy the it bloke ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      I know the feeling. Everywhere I work, things are messy.

      Many working hours are lost through time spent looking for a CD or having to clear a space to put a PC on your desk for repair.

      One point I’ll make is that technicians seem to have all the time in the world to browse the web or chat to mates using Messenger, but they never have time to put tools back in the toolbox, packaging in the bin or CD’s back in the filing cabinet.

      A bit of discipline is needed.

    • #3224906


      by syntech ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      I Run a computer Sales & Service Company and i am a neat freak, My Technical department was a mess but i got i quickly resolved, I Used the following method which i designed myself.

      1) Salaries & Bonuses are tied to the following
      a) Work Area Neatness & Tidyness 60 %
      b) Work Attitude & Ability 25%
      c) Punctuality & Attire 5 %
      d) Other 10 %

      Every one Kept their Workstation Clean because no one wanted to lose 60 % of their increments.


      David Martin

      • #3288239

        Good for you

        by rhomp20029 ·

        In reply to Solution

        I wouldn’t work for you on a bet – ever!!

      • #3288174

        So now it’s pretty. Big deal.

        by nnielsen ·

        In reply to Solution

        If the tech department is not a customer service area, why worry so much about its appearance? In fact, since you based your people’s bonuses more on their cleanliness than on their productivity, I can almost guarantee that your techs are now more worried about a clean workplace than they are about doing the work. Have you examined your productivity figures lately? Better yet, call back in a year and let us know how it worked out.

      • #3224137

        i pity your staff

        by shellbot ·

        In reply to Solution

        a) Work Area Neatness & Tidyness 60 %
        b) Work Attitude & Ability 25%
        c) Punctuality & Attire 5 %
        d) Other 10 %

        so you put tidyness above being a team player, knowing how to do thier sh*t and doing a good job?

        must be a great place to work, full of clean people who can’t do anything..

        personally..i’d reararnge them as such:
        a) Work Attitude & Ability 85%
        b) Desire to learn 10%
        c) Trustworthiness 5 %

        Ya know what, a team of people like that might not look pretty and might have a messy desk, but they’d be like gold to me and i’d treasure every one of them.
        To have a team of competent trustworthy and reliable people who have a drive to learn …a tech managers wet dream

        • #3224036

          I like that

          by w2ktechman ·

          In reply to i pity your staff

          Next time I am looking for work, I’ll see you first….
          Do you pay for training too?

          I do have to agree, that many a time I would prefer that the tech’s clean up sometimes. But other than rag on them about it, I let it go and pointed it out once in a while as a problem if anyone else enters the area.
          So, they did clean, but rarely. And I didnt have to spend all of my time complaining about it.
          I valued their knowledge and troubleshooting skills much more than cleanliness. That is the way that I had found to have a good team.

    • #3288408

      Part Of The Job

      by boogie ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      Cleaning up after doing a job is a fundamental of good practice.The diesel mech above is a good example; if you’ve ever had to work with old diesel engine oil and the thick black mess it leaves, you soon know why it’s better off working clean. I think not all our techies have had the proper foundation in training to work clean and smart( maybe that is something the industry should look at).I agree that some do have to do the job in less than perfect conditions but my experience is that in that bad environment it is more necessary to clean up the workspace after every job. I have also seen that once you instil this into your staff the time taken is minimal and the environment is better all round.It takes as much time to put your tools, parts etc in the wrong place as the right one. I acknowledge the fact that this infers a degree of organisation of said tools and parts etc to be easily available and to hand, but that should go without saying if you want an efficient department.
      I also acknowledge that management is not always sympathetic to the needs of the repair facility but that is no excuse, as far as I’m concerned, for allowing the work environment to look like a junk yard.
      And one last thing would you get your car fixed at a workshop that looked like you describe your desktop engineers workspace?

    • #3288357

      grow a set, buddy

      by shraven ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      You lack balls. If your reports are not performing in the manner you need them to, correct it. If they don’t respond to requests, discipline them.
      You say that seems excessive, then perhaps your own lack of commitment to your stated objective is the real problem here.
      Decide if this isssue is important or just your own personal rant. If it’s important, enforce it. If not, get over it.
      We all have different styles. Some are neat, some are not. Judge results, not your biases.

      • #3288342

        Good advice if he’s the manager…

        by fbuchan ·

        In reply to grow a set, buddy

        …but he refers to a “team leader” as a third party in the original post.

    • #3288335

      Reverse Your Management Thinking

      by pworlton ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      You have two problems: one is that your people are valuable and know it. It is expensive to hire and train new people, so existing people generally won’t move a muscle over a “talking to”, or even blatent threats.

      Another is in your management mentality. People are not motivated to DO something by offering discipline, with rare exceptions. Many creatures are that way – just try whipping a donkey to get him to move and you’ll see what I mean. But offer him a carrot and he’ll follow you anywhere. You need to find a “carrot” to offer your people as an incentive to clean up their workspace.

      Not knowing your environment or your people, I can only guess at what the best “carrot” would be. Perhaps have a monthly contest for cleanest work area (on average), and the winner gets a free lunch. Or perhaps they will be more motivated by recognition or status, such as a certificate on the wall or some sort of title. Best of all, make it a team effort – not in a competitive way, but in a way where the whole team can benefit if they all work together.

      If you’ve worked with these people long enough, you should know what makes them really tick. Use it to your advantage.

    • #3288284

      It depends

      by locolobo ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      Is your team doing routine jobs the same week in and out? Or are they doing something different all the time? When you are doing the same thing it makes sense to organize things so that everything is ready to go. If you want to see examples try working in a retail environment or restaurant for a little while. There everything has to be cleaned and organized and kept so.

      If you are constantly trying to build something new, discover new processes, etc, then some clutter has to be accepted. Mad scientists have to lay all the pieces of the puzzle out in front of them to study the problem.

      If you want a suggestion, the only thing I can suggest is deciding how much clutter is good for your team. (I am assuming your are the boss/leader.) Then find convincing reasons why this is so. (can find tools, parts, etc if organized). Then discuss this with your team. For this to work you will have to allow them time to clean/organize/tidy (or whatever you want to call it). Last let them do it. If you organize things they will spend forever looking for the stuff you moved. If they do it they will think of the organization as theirs.

      Just an idea.

    • #3288273

      It has nothing to do with techies

      by hschoenman ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      There are plenty of techies that keep a neat, clean desk and work environment and plenty of non-techies that have so much junk, pictures, piles of paper and other detritus on their desks and work areas that their work surface has been reduced to that of a postage stamp. It all depends on whether a person is inherently neat or messy. It has nothing to do with their job or how well they perform it.

    • #3288271

      A sign on their desks didn’t work, but then …

      by nzwaneveld ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      A manager I know tried to tackle this by showing his staff a good example. His desk was always clean and tidy. In desperation he one day placed a sign on their desks. The sign read: “A cluttered desk is synonymous for a cluttered mind.”

      The next day there was a sign on his desk. It read: “So what is an empty desk synonymous for…?”

      Not giving up too easy, he explained that it is easier to find the right file if everything is nicely archived. The response was predictable… He was challenged to ask for a specific file. He picked a random project and the file was produced within seconds. He commented that they misunderstood the problem. He knew that they are able to retrieve stuff from their own piles of files, but now he wanted someone else to retrieve it for him.

      Why? If one of his ‘techies’ were to become incapacitated (maybe for a long time), someone else had to be able to retrieve the information needed. If they could not retrieve it within a reasonable amount of time, then this manner of working had become a business liability. The manager asked if it is fair to expect that a manager will take measures that ensure that they would have sufficient work in the future? They agreed. He then asked if it is fair to expect that a manager will do whatever he can to reduce business liabilities and mitigate the business risks that staff has introduced. They again agreed (and you could tell that they all knew where this was leading to…)

      He then asked them to come up with suggestions for mitigating this business risk by the end of the week, and that he would discuss it with them and ask the team to decide on a final plan. (That way it became the techie?s plan, instead of the managers.)

      End of week, the techie?s suggested getting everything filed and they asked for help in setting up and understanding a good filing system. The help was committed to them.

      The manager took this one step further. He explained (didn?t threat) that when he looked at staff with regard to career moves, he also considered how long it would take for someone to start in the new position. If someone is well organized, he knew from experience that the hand over to the next person would be easier.

      It took a while, but every one of the techie?s became better organized. It went beyond a clean desk. As part of their annual appraisals, they even did a peer review of each other?s files (btw: this was one of their own suggestions).
      They regularly asked themselves if they did anything that brought risks / liabilities to the company and would make plans to improve the situation. The original team members have all moved on to other exciting jobs within the organization and elsewhere. Each one of them was easily able to hand over their work (together with the relevant files) when an appropriate career move came up for them.

      Once they linked their own future with tidiness and being organized, they managed to switch their mind-set.

      I should know… I was one of those techies.

      BTW: Pierre F., if you are reading this… Thanks! It was a great lesson you taught us.

    • #3288254

      Live with it and stop whining

      by g.m.bakker (cne, self employed) ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      I could be 1 of your techies. I work from 7 am till 4:30 pm, cater for a lot of shit all day a zoom off to do something else. It’s either this or 7:00 till 15:00 and 1 hour and 30 mins to clean up and create an even better chaos for tomorrow. Just live with it. Techies are driven by technology and not by clean desk policy. Just close the door and blind the windows an stop whining!

      • #3288216

        This is the way it is

        by snoteboom ·

        In reply to Live with it and stop whining

        I’ve worked in both public and private sectors and I’ve never seen a tidy work place for techs. I’m just as guilty as others. In everyplace I’ve worked with a variety of people, we all struggle with keeping our work place tidy. My recommendation is accept it and live with it.
        One other suggestion is have work days every so often devoted to office cleanup. I have seen this work when everyone is involved in the process. This also gets the worker to focus on this area. Setting aside 10 min./day at the end of the day doesn’t work. People often busy themselves right up to the end of their shift and often a little after with things they find more mentally engaging.

    • #3288181

      Lack of a management plan

      by dr_zinj ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      In every case this happens in, it’s because of a lack of a management plan, i.e. it’s the fault of the leader(s) in the company.

      First of all you have to have a property disposal plan. Things declared excess to the company need to be gotten rid of without violating EPA and waste disposal laws, and without attribution of wrong doing on the part of the employee (two person sign off on non-usability works nicely – preferrably one IT and one non-IT person).

      Second, you have to have a plan for deciding when something is junk. If it doesn’t work, that’s easy. If it does work, then what is it’s expected continued useful lifespan? Is it already obsolete? Can it be disassembled for useful parts? Does it have proprietary information stored on it? Does it have useful software stored on it? OH GOD! DOES IT HAVE CONFIDENTIAL, PRIVACY, OR BUSINESS CRITICAL INFORMATION STORED ON IT??? The answers to those questions point whether it goes in this week’s waste disposal, repaired, or parts & software salvage.

      Third thing you need is an inventory system for your software. That tells you what you have licenses for, and whether you can move software from one machine to another. As long as your counts match, you’re golden. If they don’t, you’re stealing from someone.

      Fourth thing, you need an inventory system for your hardware too. That’s company capital, and small, portable, easily stolen, or misplaced, valuables. You don’t know if something’s been stolen if you don’t know what you have. And if you don’t have a record of it, it doesn’t mean squat to the police. Mfr, Model, Serial Numbers at a minumum!

      Fifth thing is you need a spares system. Keeping spares to stuff you don’t have any more is wasteful. Maybe that means all you have is an old video card, holder HDD/portable storage device, and a small jar of PC screws in a drawer. Maybe it means you have an entire room of brand new spares. You still need an inventory of all that, and tie it to the disposal program. Tag your spares with identifying information! What is it, what does it go to, what drivers/software does it use? Put the software disks in an envelope and duct tape the envelope to the hardware so they stay together is one way. Attaching a note saying where the software is stored is another.

      Let me hit on the second item again. Most hard disk drives are never going to be used again on systems that you are disposing of. They are either past their life expectancy and will fail sooner than later. The best thing to do is do a thorough wipe and then destroy the patters in the drive somehow. Smash and burn works for small disposal volumes, although you have to check for burn regulations in your area. Commercial shredders are even better as the metals and plastics are totally ripped apart, separated and usually the itty bitty peices are melted down for recycling. If you are absolutely dead set on giving the systems away, then you still need to thoroughly wipe the drives first – and not just Ollie North deleting. After you’ve done that, then you can reload the software you are transferring the licenses for to their new owners.

    • #3288121

      Positive Action is Required

      by ccrtrustee ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      I had (note the past tense)the same challenge with my church pastor. In a “one horse shop” that is a combination church office/pastors’ study, I could never get him to clean his desk…and the disarray spread to the secretary’s desk at the other end of the room.

      How did I fix it?

      I am the church treasurer…and I write his payroll check. All I did was bury his check somewhere on his desk. When he asked why his check was late, I simply informed him that it was on one of the two desks.

      Problem solved for me. You can use this same technique…with the co-operation of human resources and the team lead.

      You could also have the local board of health come in and mark the area “unfit for habitation” (too many mice in a “clean” area.)

      Shirley MacLean’s famous…and only…husband,


    • #3288082

      Clean Desk – What is that ?

      by thejendra1 ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      Folks, don’t you know it is illegal for techies to have a clean desk ? Besides, he who has a clean desk has nothing better to do than keep it clean 🙂

    • #3288059

      Tidiness and the Techie

      by matildass ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      The best way to ge tthings done is to start it yourself. Just pick up a few things and put them back in their place and take a duster in hand, you will see lots of hands extending and a number of voices saying “We’ll do it”. This formula will work for sometime and once it goes back to square one repeat from step one.
      This Magic will work in anyplace anywhere anytime.

      • #3216593

        Too busy

        by angry_white_male ·

        In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

        There are only so many hours in the week to get stuff done – and organizing that pile of crap on my desk into tidy little compartments usually falls low on the priority list. But I like the idea of forcing an IT Friday on the dept to have them put everything aside to get organized, cleaned up and ready for the week ahead. May lump a staff meeting and a dept lunch into the mix.

    • #3216825


      by udamico ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      one good solution that we found to be eventualy easy and takes the less time, was to allocate the last 30mins/1hr a day, to sort the daily job clutter. cleared unneeded items that can be stored again.. like parts and equipment, sort paper work according to job / project, for easy reference, do the filing, and whatever is taken from any storage room, is back there in its place (not in a corner to be (eventualy sorted) … by time one realises that he has to clear less and less things every day.

    • #3216824

      Organised Chaos

      by the_hunteroz ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      What a lot of people neglect to understand is that, it may be messy to the outside (other people) but if you were to ask a techie, where something was i bet he/she could go into a pile of cables, or hard drives and find what you need. So stop picking on techs!!! as most systems admins/techs know.. you shouldn’t tuck with a system admin we know everything you do mwahaha

    • #3216811

      Your the manager are you not?

      by feral ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      Then do your job and take charge.
      You do have a health and safety policy in place? Enforce it and if they can not follow the company policy then start disciplinary action.
      These people are your workers not your mates, this sort of sloppiness is born out of the fact that they can get away with it.
      Try leading by example, if your desk is a mess clean it then kick some ass and if it is not a mess kick some ass.
      Before any of you start flaming me for being a hard ass and someone you would not want to work for, don’t bother I have heard it all before.
      A sloppy work place begets sloppy work.

    • #3216806

      Technical Skill and Personal Hygiene

      by problemsolversolutionseeker ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      are not relational. That is, are not attributes of each other.
      But, they are indicators.

      Oh, what am I saying.

      Knew a programmer – the best I have ever seen. His work never had a bug in it; I would study his code to learn his methods. When given a task, he would work non-stop to complete it.
      But his personal hygiene was the worst – his chair had to be put in storage when he took a hiatus. He weighed 5000 pounds, and never took a bath, that I know of. Had this huge window fan in his cubicle that you could hear a mile away.

      But we have to have yahoos that come up with policies for the good of everybody, don’t we?

      Why can’t you get personally involved instead? Offer to take them out to lunch if they clean up their desk. Get creative.

      Gotta go. Said enough.

    • #3216805


      by robocso ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      The first test is whether the productivity of the untidy techs or anyone around them suffers due to the clutter. The second test is whether the clutter where people could trip or get injured creates an unsafe workplace environment. The last test is whether it is against company policy to leave equipment lying around.

      If any of these tests are true then order the techs to clean up or face disciplinary steps. If none of the tests are true then accept it.

      If this is a personal peeve, reevaluate whether you are not having a negative impact on productivity.

    • #3216788

      Meeting Time

      by jcritch ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      You will need to schedule a meeting. In the meeting you must address your concerns ask for solutions and offer yours. I was in a similar situation a few years ago, in the meeting my hardware Gurus brought forth a few great ideas to help with storage and accessibility. We moved the storage into a central location with benches surrounding it. We made a shelving unit for work in progress awaiting parts, with the work orders attached to the system. The team leader was charged with keeping track of parts on order, and placed the parts with the disabled unit when they arrived.

      We followed this up with a every 2 week cleanup period, usually the Payday Friday, where we took 2 hours out of the day, one for a short meeting and the remaining time we toured the area to ?police? and cleanup. We used this to fine tune our storage process, after 6 months of retraining work habits we were able to pull back from the ?policing? and cut the cleanup time down. Was it perfect? No, but we did resolve the majority of the clutter, and found those who are inherently sloppy (check out the inside of their cars sometime, you will pinpoint the slobs from the lazy).

      Hope this helps.

    • #3216735

      Julie Morgenstern’s books are spot on

      by phillip ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      Organizing from the Inside Out focuses on personal organization both in the home and at the office, but she also addresses ways of thinking and feeling that keep us from being organized – the psychological side of tidiness. It’s not as simple as saying “I’m lazy” or “Face it, I’m a slob.” She also discusses handling living/working with people who are not tidy. Her book helped me see how to get organized and more importantly start answering the question “Why am I not organized – what is it that is holding me back? Time, lack of space, emotional attachment to things, etc.” It’s a valuable read both professionally and personally.
      One other idea – look for people and places that are organized and take some time to analyze why they are organized and how they are organized. Julie uses the kindergarten classroom as her example, yet it is worthwhile to observe someone in your own workplace (or a similar workplace) that is organized and figure out how they do it.

    • #3216718

      Set a date, and make it routine.

      by jcummer ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      At the last place I worked, we had the same problem, only it spilled over into our lab and server room as well. Our manager decided to make every other Friday a day to clean up and get organized. We would put our projects on hold, only answering the help desk line, and everyone would pitch in and we would clean up our desks, lab, server room, etc….. Having a structured time like that really helped.

    • #3216688

      IT Department as a functioning unit of the company

      by systems magician ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      The IT department is now more looked at as a Service Group to the company. It’s needs is often blurred to the bottom of the list compared to other organizational groups yet “IT” is a very important group.

      Management should be made aware that the IT department also needs time away from servicing the entire company. It needs time to organize, update documentation, do it’s own housekeeping as a department.

      Like suggested earlier, we have implemented IT FRIDAY. It is the day IT will do things to benefit themselves, we will not be in service for the company unless it is a critical issue.

      Since management have also been stubborn in providing storage space, we have implemented a 30-day hardware disposal policy. It does not get re-used in 30 days, it goes home to whoever wants it or to a local school.

      Everybody wins.

      • #3216507

        This has been tried

        by nicknielsen ·

        In reply to IT Department as a functioning unit of the company

        At two of my previous work locations, we tried to get a biweekly IT Friday going where we could shut down and clean up, responding only to emergency calls. We initially got management approval, but that approval was rescinded when management realized that IT actually meant to stick to the definition of “emergency” as “network down, server down or network printer down.” Apparently, management didn’t like the idea that salesmen were coming to IT at 4pm on a Friday to get VPN issues fixed and being told no. “I haven’t been able to connect all month. No, it can’t wait until Monday, I’m flying to xxx on Sunday.” Instead of management telling sales to report outages when they occurred, IT was told to return to normal call response.

        Needless to say, they just didn’t understand why the IT benches never quite made it to immaculate…

    • #3216660

      Work Quantity

      by boyd.david ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      You know, I really think that tidiness is good, when you work for a company that doesn’t think that every project is important. I am currently working on three projects with their seperate pile of equipment. I am required to work on each project equally so I have all of the equipment out on my desk. Because of the length of the project, I makes no sense to shut everything down each night then pull it out in the morning. I also have to do a fair amount of paperwork and this piles up also. Can I find what I need? Usually yes. Are my projects finished on time? Yes. Is my work sloppy? For the most part no. I don’t think that someone desk is a measure of their value to the company. Oh by the way, I do get a lot of flak from my co-works, my boss and his boss but they understand that I get the job done.

    • #3216627

      Tidiness and the Techie

      by mike_patburgess ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      I have been a Manager/Techie for a very long time and have kept my work area very tidy. A tidy and organized techie is a methodical person which spills over into a very effective technical person.

      A techie who does not keep their work area tidy is generally a person who is not very organized in the way they do anything and as such waste valuable time not taking a methodical approach to troubleshooting techniques. You’ve seen them pounding away at a keyboard for hours at a time trying everything under the sun to resolve a problem. Oh yes eventually they will find the problem but after many a wasted hour and yes the piles on their desk continue to be layered one on top of the other.

      Fix the problem once and for all by tying tidiness to a SLA like a raise or performance evaluation, or both.

      • #3216529


        by rhomp20029 ·

        In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

        After working in the IT field for over 40 years, I have seen neat people who could not think their way out of a wet paper bag and total slobs who could find exactly what they needed from a pile in less time than you could find it in a file.

        What you are doing is trying to do behavior modification on people who will then neaten up and work less. If you demand their being neat when it hurts their work, then just get yourself someone else to pester.

    • #3216553

      Find yourself a good therapist

      by lampoon ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      Find yourself a good therapist who specialises in treating anal retention.

    • #3216541


      by grimshiire ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      What the FREAKN HELL IS A DESKTOP ENGINEER? I can not believe how absurd these titles are becoming. The person in charge needs to have them clean it & keep it professional looking or have them clean the data center floor with a toothbrush & THEIR TONGUES!

    • #3216505

      Get them storage on your floor

      by roaming ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      Having to drag stuff from one floor to another is probably what is putting them off.

    • #3216497

      Dude, get some management skills!

      by john.fisher ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      Seriously, you guys must wear ties and shiny shoes or some such. Your job is not to “give them a talking to” your job is to insulate them from the stupid corporate flak, make sure they have what they need, and provide policy on important things, like customers.

      In short a manager’s job is to keep all the paperwork, corporate politics, and dumb VP’s ideas away from the people who actually do productive work so they can get their job done.

      Start by reading the US comic Dilbert, yes its based on real stories people send him. Try not to be the pointy-haired boss. Then rent The Office, UK or US edition. Then rent Office Space too. If you don’t laugh ruefully, you are in the wrong job. really.

      Look if you’ve got a safety issue like fire-aisles, then just get a big cart and go around and pick up the stuff from everybody.

      hope things improve for you,

    • #3216484

      Think about it

      by zlitocook ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      If they can not keep their desk tops clean how will they keep any thing they do clean? If they can not keep up with what is on their desk how will they keep up with new projects?

    • #3224165

      Depends on lots of issues

      by hlhowell9 ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      I am one of the “untidy”. However I am also one of the more creative of my group. My mind works in a different way than the people with great organization do. Not better, not faster, just different. I quit one job over this issue, and would quit just as fast the next time. The company I quit lost a lot of business to the company I joined.

      It’s a choice.

      If their workspace bothers you, don’t go there, if their productivity is what you need.

      Otherwise you take your shot and take your chances. Good engineers, good software folks are not cheap, or common.

      If you want tidy, become an accountant or a product rep. It’s a different skillset.

      On the otherhand, I worked a number of years in a highly secure environment, when cleanliness was more important that creativity. I lost creativity, but I did keep the space spotless. Wouldn’t do that again either.

      Now I’m retired. But my home and my boat are neat. My worksapces are messy but they are mine. I’m the boss. If you don’t like it, don’t visit.

      Les H

      • #3224038

        Preach it, brother!!

        by rhomp20029 ·

        In reply to Depends on lots of issues

        Could not have said it better. I too am now retired and I too worked for years with a mess on my desk. Never lost a paper and could find anything needed when needed.

        I was the one that people came to to get things fixed in a hurry because I could do it. I was then they came to when they got errors they could not understand and I found what the problem was and either told them how to fix it or fixed the problem myself. All the neatniks spent their time straightening things up and trying to figure out which file they put it in while I got on with the job.

        I guess the managers have to decide what they want. Do they want the job done or do they want a spotless desk. Most times you can’t have both and meet your deadlines. You decide.

    • #3224003

      Find space..

      by cris_garcia ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      The way i have it is:

      1. I have a storage room where i keep all new/old equipment (helps me keep inventory control).

      2. Same room has enough room so i can use a table for setups/diagnostics/cleaning equipment.

      3. My server room has a metal case where i keep/safeguard my backups tapes. Also i have a file cabinet where all CD’s are kept. And a nother one for keeping supplies (toners, blank cds, etc). (All this is inventorized).

      4. At my desk i only keep papers (important ones) on my drawers. And we always clean and avoid eating at our desks.

      • #3223984

        Yes, we can create extra space

        by w2ktechman ·

        In reply to Find space..

        by imagining it.
        Or maybe we need those D&D bags of holding?

        Not everyone has extra space that they can just ‘use’ at their will.

    • #3287767

      Use a toolbox….

      by sarge62436 ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      My team carries a responsibility that involves making sure our laptop-based diagnostic systems are capable of providing automotive technicians with the data and functionality required to accurately diagnose and repair customer vehicles. It is not unusual for us to scatter laptops, cables, interfaces, AND vehicle control units/wiring harnesses across more than one desk.
      To some, this is not tidy. However, if we did not diagnose, disassemble, repair, and verify, then our dealer techs would have a hard time keeping customer cars on the road.
      We reinforce the concept of accounting for items and putting them away in designated, secured areas when we are finished.
      In short, put it back together and put the tools away when you are done with it…..

    • #2502749

      bonusworthy objectives

      by gooder ·

      In reply to Tidiness and the Techie

      I got fed up with one desk in my dept, so I’ve just set an objective for that person to keep their area clear. We are part of the main office so it doesn’t make us look good.

      They said they’d rather take the hit and lose the small percentage of the bonus I’d assigned to the objective. So I doubled it, reducing other objectives to suit.

      I’m now waiting to see what happens…

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