I’m not going to tease you with a long, misleading article – the answer is NEVER and I do hope that’s your answer too! There simply cannot be a reason when litter is acceptable at your attraction/venue/business.
Occasionally there may be short periods when litter is present at our attractions because:
- it’s only just been dropped and every area/pathway/room isn’t staffed at all times
- high winds may mean litter becomes more of a challenge to collect or it may be blown around or out bins
- bins could be overflowing
I’d just like to point out that whilst it may be present it is never acceptable.
For me, presentation standards cover so many things. Cleanliness of the venue, dress and appearance of the employees and maintenance and state of repair of facilities. All of these things represent your business. They shout about how you operate, how you view yourselves and how you value your guests. If standards are sloppy and tired I think that speaks volumes and guests will, over time, pick up on this and maybe even start to feel cheated. (Not to mention the negative effect on the environment if rubbish is left unmanaged!). If you don’t care about how your business looks and what your visitors see, do you really care about your guests experience at all? If you were drawing a picture of a perfect day out I doubt very much it would have litter in!
So, how to begin looking at fixing this. Well, I feel that this starts with you and your employees. Its a culture thing right? You know the saying ‘You get the standards you walk passed’ and I think this literally can translate to litter and presentation standards. If you can walk past litter, or a broken sign, or a damaged bench then that’s what you’re happy with. A couple of ideas I have and things that have worked for me include:
- Set the standard during interview and induction. Expect employees to pick up litter as a matter of basic duties – its not ‘just because’, its because its good business.
- Make sure employees feel proud if they maintain great standards, thank them.
- Encourage your team to take ownership of issues. Make it clear that anything broken needs reporting or fixing if they can
- Set the example – if you can walk round with your team or colleagues pick up litter, set tables and chairs so they look neat, ensure walkways are free of clutter etc. not only is it great to demonstrate you care about your business its also good health and safety sense!
- Get your logistics sorted! Make sure staff patrol areas if they can, have regular presentation checks as part of your daily operation before you even open the doors to visitors and plan for busy times/peak periods with extra cleaning team members or just more bins!
There are so many more thoughts to add but if you can leave a comment or a thought of your own on how you keep your business fresh, clean and friendly then please do.