From management to me, Bourke Accounting workers are expected to keep their desks neat. Because searching for important documents wastes time and a bombed-out desk looks bad, this directive makes sense. Also, it’s much easier to forget an assignment when 20 Post-it notes, haphazardly stuck to the computer screen, vie for priority attention. Even beyond our offices, though, the cleanliness initiative is in full effect – we keep our kitchen and bathrooms spic and span.
There are two reasons that we keep things nice (well, three, if you consider not wanting to hear about it from the higher ups). The first is because no one wants to be “that guy.” You know the one: the co-worker who spills food in the microwave and leaves it to solidify, day after day, probably never heard of a napkin and, Oh, my God! Surely that mess didn’t start life as anything edible! That guy. No, the polite work culture of Bourke means that we try to avoid stepping on each other’s toes. The other reason is even simpler. Since everything is already clean, we keep it clean because a dirty bowl would stick out.
This isn’t a new idea. In 1982, social scientists James Wilson and George Kelling used broken windows as a “metaphor for disorder within neighborhoods” (Britannica.com). Their concept, the broken windows theory, suggests that if a window remains broken in an area, it’s much easier for surrounding windows to become broken. After windows, comes other acts of vandalism, property crime and, ultimately, serious crime. If nothing is ever cleaned up, it is then believed that there is no one in charge and anything goes. This further creates a sense of chaos that leads to “fear in the minds of citizens who are convinced that the area is unsafe” (Britannica.com). Once the law-abiding civilians retreat from this questionable community, the community becomes weaker as it’s overrun by the anarchic criminal element.
This theory was tested by Dr. Charles Branas in Philadelphia. In 2016, Dr. Branas led the push to fix up abandoned buildings and create community parks in high-crime neighborhoods. Eventually, these neighborhoods saw a “39% reduction in gun violence” (PsychologyToday.com). Once it was clear that someone cared about the community, the population joined in and made it more difficult for the area to return to its lawless state.
While the broken window theory can be observable in neighborhoods and Bourke’s kitchen, it can also be seen at work in our homes. Data scientist Russell Pollari suggests that your home reflects your identity. Therefore, if you allow your home to become gross, you’ll eventually identify as a lazy person with no motivation or direction. Pollari writes that your dirty home persona will then leak out into every other aspect of your life, damaging your relationships and work ethic (RussellPollari.com). If you allow your dishes to pile up and rot, would it be much of a jump to procrastinate when you have to return customer phone calls or meet deadlines?
Letting your house look like a bad neighborhood from Gangs of New York will harm your mental health and employment. If you allow it to get bad enough, your social life will suffer, too – no one will invite you to birthday parties if you smell like cat pee and mold.
Bourke Accounting bookkeepers and tax preparers always know where your file is located. Bourke Accounting experts are also on top of schedules, meetings and deadlines. Being organized physically and mentally allows Bourke pros to offer the very best in accounting services. And none of us smell like cat pee.
Written by Sue H.