How’s your desk looking right this second? Come on, be honest. Take in your entire workspace, whether it’s the office or your living room, what’s going on? Are there cables tangled all across the floor? Old notes and post-its strewn across the place? Perhaps the rubbish bin is overflowing, no matter how many times you stamp it down a bit more. If your workspace is in dire need of a spruce-up you might have noticed your productivity levels have fallen. Whether you’ve noticed or not, there is a direct correlation between employee productivity and the cleanliness of their workspace. Read on to find out how to tidy up to maximise productivity at work.
You know what they say: Tidy home tidy mind. And that goes for the office too! There are a multitude of benefits of having a clean and organised workspace when it comes to employee wellbeing and productivity.
Let’s face it, the less things there are to tidy up, the less untangling and dusting there is to do, the more time and headspace we have to focus on our work. And better focus and concentration will of course boost our productivity.
Anyone else feel so overwhelmed knowing there’s so many chores to do? Cleaning is the worst. So knowing that things at work are tidy, clean, and everything is where it belongs, minimises that discouraging feeling that there’s so much to do. A tidy workspace is much more pleasant to come into, increasing motivation to come to work and perform better.
Having a tidy workspace literally frees up our time! ‘How?’ I hear you ask. Well, when everything is where it needs to be, we spend less time faffing around looking for a pen, that charger we need or where that damn hole-punch has gone again.
Injury and sickness rates decrease
When things are tidy, there’s less of a chance we’re going to trip and fall over Karen’s dramatically large briefcase, or spill hot coffee all over our lap because our desk is full of stuff. Keeping things clean at work whether that’s at home or in the office, means that employees are less likely to get sick. Bacteria thrives in an office full of people, so regular cleaning should be protocol to prevent germs from spreading.
Higher employee morale
A messy, cluttered workspace is a quick way to increase tension, stress and therefore unhappy employees. This will increase sick days and lower employee morale. When things feel and look tidy, spaces become more enjoyable to spend time in, and we spend so much of our lives at work, no wonder it makes such a difference to our mental wellbeing and productivity!
So how can we begin to tidy up our workspace to reap these benefits?
Stationary: Treat yourself to a cute pen pot or you could even make one yourself from an old pot you no longer use - grab the kids and get painting!
Cables: You could purchase a cable organiser from Amazon or test your DIY skill and use some colourful ribbon or string to keep things together. If you’re not that bothered, why not just use elastic bands to separate all your wires?
Books: Whether it’s your commute entertainment or endless amounts of notepads (guilty), stack them together between bookends on a shelf above your desk or store them in a cupboard somewhere.
Disinfect: Keep disinfectant wipes handy and regularly wipe down your desk with a disinfectant cleaning spray and clean cloth.
Dust: Compact dusters are easy to find or use an old rag that you’re ready to throw out - as long as it’s clean. Dust your surfaces and screens at the end of each day so you can actually see your screen tomorrow!
Hoover and mop: This only really applies to the Work From Home-rs, make sure you’re hoovering and mopping the floors around your workspace as well as the rest of your home.
Throw out old coffee cups and rubbish: We all have a section of our desk that we unintentionally dedicated to wrappers and takeaway cups. Grab a bin bag and get rid of the rubbish, recycle anything you can and keep a plastic bag handy to collect rubbish - and avoid eating at your desk to keep things sanitary.
Smells: Keeping things smelling nice and fresh with your favourite scented air freshener can make being in your workspace much more pleasant by creating a more positive atmosphere. It’ll also cover any lingering odours. Ensure you open windows where you can to get some fresh air and increase ventilation.
Wash your hands regularly: This is an obvious one, but think how many things you touch in a day - gross! We might touch items in a shop when we’re grabbing lunch or have a quick cuddle with the dog, and then tap away at our keyboards, scroll on our phones, and touch the surrounding areas. Think of all the germs we could potentially spread. Keep hand sanitiser handy too.
Daylight: If it’s in your control, try to get some daylight in your workspace. It can help improve our mood, focus and productivity. If this is something you don’t have access to, make sure to get outside and stretch your legs on your break.
Indoor plants: Not only do indoor plants look good, they feel good too! Adding some greenery to your workspace is a great way to feel good at work. They’ve been shown to reduce stress, improve air quality and improve multiple aspects of our wellbeing, including our cognitive health.
Final note: Dedicating a few minutes a day to keep things tidy can massively boost our productivity at work, make us feel more at ease throughout the day and not dread going into work. We’ll feel better about working and our wellbeing whilst working will see a significant improvement. And anyway, who wants to work in a messy, cluttered workspace?!