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What are you doing to ‘stage’ your office?

Industry Advisor by Kathleen Teare

RISMEDIA, January 31, 2009-As I was walking through a client’s office, I noted stained ceiling tiles, marks on the walls and baseboards, stains on the carpet, cigarette butts outside the back of the building and a myriad of other items that needed attention.

I asked the owner, “Is this what your company should look like-do you not have more pride than this? More importantly, how do your agents feel when they bring a client into this facility?”

Embarrassed, he agreed with me and we made a list of all those items that reflected a neglected-looking facility. He got to work right away and initiated a clean-up effort to get everything corrected. Within a few days, agents commented on how they felt proud of the way the office looked. It gave everyone a pick-me-up feeling; agents started to clean up their work areas and, before long, the office started to “shine like the top of the Chrysler building,” to borrow a phrase from the movie “Annie.”

I realized so many of us do not pay attention to the details of our facilities, yet they are one of the highest-cost items we have. Today, as we reduce the size of our facilities, lease out space and sell unneeded buildings, we need to pay attention to the space we use every day. We have become so cost conscious that we have neglected to maintain what we have. It is important to look our very best no matter what the economy dictates. If you make the effort to look good, you will feel good; and frankly, all of us could use a large dose of “feel good.”

I suggest you take a walk through your facility and judge it on the following items:

-Exterior-Are the light bulbs working? Is it clean; bushes trimmed; free of trash; flowers planted; paint touch-up done? If not, get the clean-up started.

-Interior-Is the lobby inviting; upholstery and rugs cleaned; light bulbs working; old magazines thrown out? Are the work areas free of clutter; desks neat; old flyers thrown out; boxes put away? Are the computers, printers and copiers working? Have you replaced old ceiling tiles; touched up walls and baseboards; shampooed the carpets; cleaned up the sign room and conference rooms? Have you branded the public areas? Is the kitchen neat and clean? Are the restrooms one of the best-kept areas of the office?

I visited Bob Merrick of Latter & Blum several years ago and was completely impressed by how well his company kept the restrooms. I commented on it and Bob said, “If your restrooms are the best kept area of your company, then people will know you care about the smallest details.” I have never forgotten that.

So as we enter this New Year, take a look around and start the year off paying attention to those small but important details of your facilities; give you and your agents some well-deserved “feel good.”

Kathleen Teare is a business consultant for PCMS Consulting, specializing in the areas of company analysis, operational reviews, compensation analysis, and revenue stream maximization.

For more information, please visit www.pcmsconsulting.com.

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