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Gym Instructors practicing yogaSome of us have had an opportunity to work for a small business that is running things a little lean. “Lean” as in management attempts to keep everything in house, such as bookkeeping, payroll, recruiting, cleaning, building repairs and marketing. The reality is that a typical small business has, on most occasions, limited resources in the form of time and money; so there is a fine balance between burning all available time on doing the things that are outside of the core competency of the business and paying for help to do these things.

Business managers should assess all of these things on a regular basis and whether it requires an employee to do it or a third-party resource. Employees who take on the bulk of the work may be resentful knowing they are spread too thin and that they aren’t contributing to revenue-generating activities. Below is an actual example of employees who have a lack of cleaning resources and an inability to be successful in their Portland location.

A small gym that runs classes for children employs several instructors and front desk coordinators. Typically two employees are running the gym during any given day. After a long string of classes with limited space in between, employees are to choose between cleaning the gym, restroom and replace all the essentials—toilet paper, hand sanitizer and soap—or they are to study up on a brand new class they will teach in the morning. The reality is that the employees can only choose one and the other must be neglected, unfortunately.

The employees know that the right decision for them is to be completely prepared for the class so that their students and parents (the ones paying!) are completely satisfied when they walk out the door. If the instructors didn’t know the curriculum, it could be a complete disaster and their brand may suffer because of it. 

What about the cleaning, though? In all of this, we forgot that the requirements are that the mats must be cleaned after classes each day to prevent germs and bacteria from spreading. And you wonder how viruses spread so fast! In this scenario, the employees have no choice but to voice their concerns to their manager to make sure the gym is being properly taken care of…

Here are a few ways the employees can directly and indirectly ask for help:

  • Visualize the schedule for the manager to show the lack of time for cleaning
  • Do a cost analysis showing the cost to use employees to clean versus hiring a local janitorial firm. Get a quote first to prove the case
  • Review the previous week’s challenges and point out the difficulty completing certain things due to lack of time
  • Share any customer complaints regarding preparedness or unsanitary conditions


Image courtesy of Flickr / edsonhong1