What can most of us say regarding the desk we work at? Let's own up to it: the likeliest word that describes our cluttered workspace would be “a mess”. Whether it is a regular table or a standing desk, papers, folders, stationary paraphernalia, and lucky toys just inundate it. And don’t forget food and vessels to contain it. Modern technologies have added to the desktop clutter computers with all their wires and cords.
Even if your desk is equipped with a monitor lift allowing you to hide the screen when you don’t need it, a clutter-free desk largely remains an unattainable dream. But must we really get rid of this mess?
How does desktop disorder influence our work?
Most people would say that it is next to impossible for humans to avoid clutter. After all, we are not robots that can maintain an orderly environment around them. Moreover, a deeply entrenched stereotype claims that the more cluttered a desk is the harder its owner works. Indeed, for some people, clutter management is a dirty word since they feel triggered into action contemplating piles of things on their table that do not seem to have a home. However, ergonomics of a workplace is not a thing to be disregarded, even if you don’t think much of the Feng-Shui hype. There are a number of reasons a cluttered desk (even the most stylish one) is detrimental to our professional achievement:
- No concentration is possible: According to neuroscientists, chaos prevents our brain from focusing. It serves as a distraction that negatively affects the brain's capacity to process information.
- A reason for stress: Trying to find things on an untidy desk is stressful enough to say nothing of the time you waste to locate the item you need. And just entering the office and seeing your desk strewn with things may become a powerful mood dampener able to discourage even the most motivated employee.
- Unprofessional image: Having an office with unkempt desks littered with piles of things doesn't reflect great credit on your company. The odds are that the clients will think twice before doing business with you.
All these factors eventually result in low productivity of the personnel and poor performance the company displays. Read our blog on How to get the most of your Standing Desk.
Clutter Management Cues
Managing clutter is not that hard. Just follow these tips and watch your productivity increase remarkably:
- Set aside time for cleaning: Preferably, it is to be done daily before you start to work so that you can have an apple-pie order at your work station. It is a matter of minutes if you do it regularly. Occasionally, schedule a more thorough tidying up and have it written on your calendar.
- Sort things out: Your desk has all the chances to be clutter-free if you find a home for each item on it. The ergonomic approach to this process should start with determining the frequency of usage of every object on your desk. Things that you need daily or every other day (pens, pencils, keyboard, stapler, scissors, paper clips, and the like) should be kept at hand. Items that you use occasionally or rarely (video and audio equipment, most books or extra office accessories) should definitely leave your table and find a home in some closet or file cabinet (but make sure you remember where you stored them).
And if you describe an item as one that you may need someday it means that you are not using it. Throw it away without any regrets!
- Place a trash basket within an easy reach: Ideally, you shouldn’t rise from your chair to put something into it. And remember to empty it regularly.
- Go digital: Paper is the most common item that gets piled up and clutters your desk. And it doesn’t matter if takes the shape of books, magazines or manuals.
Digitalization is the solution here. Having most of the documents and reference materials in electronic format is a must in this era of technology. And the high-tech equipment itself should be as ergonomic as possible.
After the purging is completed make sure it is done not once in a blue moon. Regular decluttering is what will help to keep your desk tidy.
A clean workspace is not only a matter of personal hygiene or optimization of the working environment. A neat and orderly desk will eventually have a positive effect on your work ethic and productivity which is sure to tell upon your company’s revenues.