What is your motivation to stay clean

Workplace design is an often underestimated motivational factor. To motivate employees, many employers use a wide variety of methods: from daily "good morning talks" to pizza vouchers to personal awards that are displayed in the company. However, many employers rate the influence of workplace design on their employees as low. In this article we explain what motivation actually means, why a clean workplace makes your employees more productive and what other factors there are for employee motivation.

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Motivation - what is it actually?

Motivation generally means that a person has the will to achieve a goal. In relation to a company and its employees, motivation means more success in the long term, because motivated employees work more productively and effectively. If employees can work on their own responsibility, they will enjoy their work more and are more committed. You work solution-oriented and thus offer the company real added value. In order to encourage your employees, it is important the three cornerstones of employee motivation to note:

1. Recognition

On the one hand, employee performance must be recognized on a regular basis so that they don't get the feeling that their work is not valued. Employees should therefore regularly hear praise to be sure they are doing their job well and right in order to continue to perform well. And even if the feedback turns out to be negative, it is important for the supervisor to discuss clear improvement measures with the employee and then to recognize them as soon as the employee has been able to implement them.

2. Payment

Furthermore, employees remain motivated by good pay. However, the salary is only partially motivating, as this influencing factor is an extrinsic incentive. Extrinsic motivation thus arises from rewards from 'outside' and is therefore only lasting for a limited period of time. Such rewards can be, for example, a raise in salary, a company car or vouchers. These incentives promote motivation for a certain period of time, but as soon as you get used to the salary, for example, motivation decreases again. However, the salary should still be reasonable, as poor pay has a negative effect on motivation - and that over the long term.

3. Working atmosphere

In order to keep employees motivated in the long term, it is important for superiors to offer their employees intrinsic incentives. The most important step is to create a good working atmosphere. Because intrinsic motivation comes from 'inside', so that employees motivate themselves. Managers must ensure that a trusting basis is created between employees and themselves, in which both parties can speak openly and are dealt with fairly with one another. Conflicts in the company should be avoided or at least eliminated quickly in order to ensure a positive working atmosphere. A wonderful tool for improving the working atmosphere is 360-degree feedback.

Work environment as motivation

In order for employees to remain motivated and effective in the long term, they have to feel comfortable in their workplace. To do this, order and cleanliness in the office not only have to be written down in some set of rules, but also lived become. It has to become part of the corporate culture. It is important for the management to set a good example. It is also important that suitable workplace conditions are created in order to keep all employees healthy in the long term.


In order for employees to feel comfortable in the company, the common rooms such as the sanitary rooms, the kitchen and the lounge should always be clean and tidy. In addition to the toilets, many bacteria also accumulate on a wide variety of objects in the kitchen if they are not cleaned regularly. These include, for example, the microwave, the refrigerator and not properly cleaned dishes. Since bacteria can multiply and spread in no time and these can lead to illnesses among the workforce, attention must always be paid to cleanliness. The most effective solution for a company is to have a professional cleaner who cleans the office space on a regular basis.
Since the computer mouse and keyboard are among the most contaminated objects in a company, the management should provide three means so that all employees can independently keep their workplaces clean:

  • Disinfectant spray
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Paper towels

In order to be able to measure the condition of sanitary rooms, common rooms or the kitchen, stationary feedback terminals are also available.


However, before cleaning can be done, the space needs to be tidied up. This should be done regularly so that too much paperwork does not accumulate and the overview is lost. In contrast to cleaning, however, this cannot be removed from anyone. Here everyone is responsible for their own workplace. The best practice is to first look at all of the papers on the desk one by one. Outdated notes are thrown away, documents that have already been processed are filed and current to-do's should be properly sorted. It is best to have a suitable filing system on the desk so that all notes can always be stored in the same way and there is no chaos on the desk. Intelligent filing systems can then be meaningfully labeled so that everything can be found at first glance. In a tidy workplace where there are no annoying search tasks, work is also much more fun and you can work more effectively, as work processes do not have to be interrupted. Much more important than tidying up itself is to achieve employee awareness and to show that the right workplace design can increase one's own motivation and have a significant impact on concentration and productivity.


In order to keep employees healthy in the long term, in addition to cleanliness, it is also important that there are adequate physical conditions at the workplace. It is important to create an ergonomic workplace. Back problems can be avoided with a suitable office chair. The monitor must be at least 22 inches to avoid eye problems. And the right lighting in the office also plays a major role in an ergonomic workplace. If these aspects are taken into account during the establishment, longer sickness absences due to the physical suffering of the employees can be prevented. In addition, physical complaints would impair the performance and thus the motivation of the employees.

This infographic provides a good overview of the perfect workplace design from an ergonomic point of view:

Other intrinsic motivational factors

In addition to trusting, open management and the right workplace design, a good working atmosphere also includes the following incentives:

Adequate workload

It is important for employees to recognize the value of their work. To do this, they must be assigned to the appropriate tasks according to their abilities. Otherwise, excessive demands will quickly lead to frustration among employees and insufficient demand leads to boredom and has a negative effect on the appreciation of one's own work. Both lead to a loss of motivation. In order to avoid a feeling of helplessness, employees must be provided with sufficient resources to be able to carry out their tasks.

Opportunities for further development

Appropriate support helps employees expand their skills and keep them motivated. If the employee does not learn anything from a certain point, the work processes become monotonous. That would lead to frustration and listlessness, which in turn results in a drop in performance. Individual training offers increase productivity and make the employer more attractive.

Promotion opportunities

Promoting employees also means giving them the opportunity to reach a different position in the company if they can no longer develop in their job. This means that employees can be tied to the company in the long term, so that there is no high fluctuation within the workforce.

Value system

People feel more comfortable with like-minded people with similar values ​​(study), and this also applies to the workplace. This makes it easier for them to motivate themselves to work in a company that is based on comparable values ​​and standards. Effective corporate communication helps to successfully present these values ​​and goals to employees.


As you have seen, there are many ways to motivate your employees. The most effective long-term strategy is to give your employees the feeling of appreciation and give you a positive work environment to offer. Make sure that the workplace is tidy and clean and provide ergonomic work equipment so that your employees stay healthy in the long term. Motivate your employees through a trusting relationship with you and gain your loyalty, because those who like to work for their employer do their work more motivated and stay with the company.