Whether you work in an office, or at home, whether you work for an organisation, or for yourself, whether you don’t work at all, but have a home office to take care of family admin or work on personal creative projects, a disorganised desk will kill your productivity.
Research tells us that the average person wastes over hours per week just searching for that document, bill, or note they made. And not knowing exactly where to lay your hand on what you are looking for when you need it causes stress, decreases your creativity, and ultimately limits your productivity.
Add to this that a disorganised desk will likely not be the cleanest desk. All of this creates a negative energy that has a further effect on your wellbeing.
And this disorganisation is not limited to your actual desktop – a messy digital desktop can cause just as much of a time stealer and add to your stress levels.
If you have a cleaning service for your office or home, it’s going to be tricky for them to clean your work station well if it’s heaped with papers, and personal items.
Devote time to decluttering
You will have heard that a cluttered desk creates a cluttered mind, and that’s probably true. You simply can’t focus well enough on specific tasks if you have to stop periodically to search for something you need to complete the task. Plus, just working in the negative energy of a cluttered desk affects your mood.
So, it’s no surprise that decluttering is the most important place to start.
Take a systematic approach and go through each area of your desk in turn, throw away the things you don’t need, re-locate the things you use rarely, and organise desktop storage system to file things in a manner that you can find them easily when you need them.
Beyond the desk
Once your desk is organised, don’t leave it there – extend your decluttering and re-organisation to storage units and, if you have the space a secondary workspace – for example, you might need a more orderly desk space, but require a separate area for books, magazines, materials, etc. that you need for more creative work.
If you don’t have cupboards or shelves to help you create order for the things you need to keep around you, maybe consider investing in some furniture that hides all the things you need, but keeps them close to hand.
This way you can keep your desk zone uncluttered, and well lit – preferably with natural light. What about the orientation of your desk – do you feel comfortable and relaxed? Set up an area on or close to your desk that includes only the things you use every day, then clear the decks and relegate anything you use less often to your storage units, including your office supplies.
If you don’t have a kitchen area in your office, or if your home office is not close to your kitchen, you might also want to set up an area with bottled water, snacks, tea and coffee, etc., so you have some close to hand.
Label it up
Box files are great for keeping loose documents tidy and you can easily label them help you locate items quickly.
Label up trays and tubs you might use to store larger items too – or use a colour coding system that’s easy to remember.
Zip that filing
Go on, admit it – you probably have heaps of old or outdated documents that you really don’t need to hand on to any more. Even if you’re nervous to bin certain documents, you can scan or photograph them and store them on an external hard drive or archive them on cloud storage if you have such a thing.
For the dos that are left, make sure they are collated by category or project so they can be found easily when you need them. You can sort your storage into an archive section and a current section, so you’re not always wading through the whole library of files every time.
Make a habit
Once your desk is clear, try to keep it that way by getting into the routine of clearing your desk at the end of every day. It really only takes a few minutes, and means you sit down to a clear desk with a clear head every morning.
If you have a cleaning service at your office, encourage all staff to do the same, so your cleaners can give you the best service and keep your workspace clean and sanitised.
If your office is at home, it’s probably even more important to leave your desk clear – especially if it’s in an open plan area, which makes the whole place look untidy. Whether you clean your home yourself or have professional cleaners, your desk will be much easier to clean well.
A clean space is a happy space
Now we’ve addressed the decluttering and organisation of your workspace, let’s turn our attention to cleaning.
Worldwide studies have revealed that keyboards, phones and computers can be riddled with harmful bacteria. Just think about how many times you touch your keyboard, then something on your desk, your coffee cup, your lunch, a pen, your clothing, your chair, your hair, and then back to the keyboard. You might scratch your nose, fix your glasses, unpack a parcel, borrow a colleague’s calculator, etc. etc.
Some offices have shared desks too these days, as people mix working in the office and working at home, so you might be sharing a phone, or keyboard with colleagues. If your desk has natural light and is in a well ventilated area, this will naturally kill off some of the bacteria, but this is often not the case, allowing bacterial to lay dormant and build upon day after day.
Aside from the health considerations, these layers of grime and bacteria will cause a build-up, which can get into keys and crevices and cause damage to your appliances, through general deterioration and corrosion of wires and vital connections, as well as restricting air flow that can lead to dangerous overheating.
The same is true of communal areas such as kitchens, and printing / storage areas.
How often does your photocopier or office printer get a good clean? What about filing cabinets? If someone cleans the kitchen, does the kettle, microwave and fridge get cleaned regularly too?
If your cleaning company is not paying attention to these details, you might want to re-define their scope and give them a checklist to complete.
If you’d like to talk to us about how we include all of this and more in our regular service, just give us a call – we’d love to chat…