Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Signs, Posters and Stuff: Do Some Housecleaning

Look around your office area or building and you will likely see many old signs, posters and cartoons. If you are in charge, work with someone or on your own to clear those up and clean off the surfaces where the items were hanging. If you aren’t in charge, ask for permssion to do some before-the-holidays clean-up.

1. After signs and posters have been in place for more than a few days they become invisible to those who have seen them repeatedly. Refreshing them now and then keeps the information fresh appearing.

2. Old information is worse than no information. If something is outdated, take it down to avoid confusion.

3.  A sloppy group of signs encourages the same lack of organization elsewhere. Have the placement, organization and condition of signs be the example for how everything in the work area should appear.

4. If something is important enough to have a sign about it, it’s important enough to produce a quality appearing sign. Often signs that are handwritten were meant to be temporary or are not significant. Replace necessary signs with simply produced ones from a word processor.

5. Cartoons left taped on walls will encourage even more cartoons–some of which may not be appropriate. Professional offices do not have cartoons and so-called “funny” signs and posters in common areas.

6. Often a sign is designed to deal with a one time problem, or an ongoing problem that should be fixed, not solved merely by warning people about it. I once saw a sign in a municipal building that said, “Please do not bring dogs into the council chambers.” I asked about it and found it was put in place when a special animal code meeting was held over a year before!

7. Resist the temptation to create even more wall clutter with quotes, photos or other things that will need to be refreshed in a few weeks–unless you really want to tie up your time with that activity, and can keep the area neat.

Take it a bit at a time and don’t try to do it all in one day to avoid the appearance of being on a sign and poster vendetta. Gradually and without making a big deal of it, take things down and either toss them or refresh them. If something was clearly posted by an individual, give that person his or her sign or poster, rather than throwing it away. Explain what you are doing, to avoid bad feelings over the situation. Of such things are life-long feuds made!

Get the walls washed if that is needed–and it probably will be in some cases. Then, only replace essentials that are required to be posted and severely limit anything else. Most of the information we need is disseminated more effectively using other methods anyway. Obviously there are some events or situations where signs and posters are beneficial or fun. But even those signs should look neat and tidy while they are on the walls or bulletin board.

Next, make sign clean-up a regular activity. Otherwise, in a few weeks you’ll notice the walls have things tacked to them, a broken machine has a torn scrap of paper taped on it, and an advertisement for a class that was given two months ago will still be taking up space. Avoid sign and poster pollution!

November 30th, 2008 Posted by | Life and Work, Supervision and Management | 6 comments