The only great unresolved problem in startups is how to police the kitchen. While VCs might think that most of ingenuity in startups is directed towards solving problems defined in business plans, in reality, people in startups spend disproportional amount of time solving the problem of keeping the place clean and healthy. The root of the problem seems to be that startups are predominately inhabited by adolescent males who also happened to be objects of obsession of their mothers (whose favorite pass time activity is cleaning the room after their beloved sons). Some of the solutions involved include loud yelling at each other or installing camera to catch culprits, but at Zemanta we are experimenting with more civilized technique of kitchen police. This means that each week we dedicate two people as janitors whose responsibility is reminding everybody to clean after themselves and, as last resort, clean after unknown offenders themselves (Any resemblance of this technique with some educational principles employed in kindergartens is entirely coincidental). We are practicing this experiment for the past two months with mixed results. The sanitary conditions have somewhat improved, but they are not yet on the acceptable level for our only female team member.
How do you keep your place clean and healthy? What strategies do you use and are you successful at it? Please share your experience in the comments.