AnyJunk take a look into the implications that cluttered desks can have on a business and its employee productivity, as well as tips and solutions for decluttering the office.
The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) found in a study that disorganisation can lead to financial losses equivalent to 10% of a manager’s salary. NAPO also states that 80% of clutter in the office is a result of being disorganised and not due to a lack of space. Therefore, there is no excuse for small or large business owners!
“When your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus. The clutter also limits your brain’s ability to process information. Clutter makes you distracted and unable to process information as well as you do in an uncluttered, organised, and serene environment.” – Princeton University
Overloading your brain forces it to divide its power, making it more difficult to:
- Sift through information.
- Move between tasks, quickly.
- Have a strong working memory.
How clutter impacts employee productivity
Researchers at Yale recently identified that the anterior cingulate cortex and insula, the two places your brain associates with pain, illuminate when you let go of things you own and feel connected to. This means it’s painful to get rid of things due to a real connection with them.
While it may be difficult to let go of the things that cause clutter, NAPO states that the number one challenge in being organised is paper clutter. Some studies reveal the average person wastes up to 4.3 hours a week looking for papers, which adds stress and frustration to the workplace while reducing concentration and creative thinking.
Cleaning professionals say that getting rid of excess clutter would eliminate 40% of the cleaning work needed.
Bryan Hunter from Instant Offices emphasises: “Keeping your company organised is paramount to keep staff mobilised, sustain high office productivity, and remain focused on priorities and profitability. Whether you are a large organisation or a small business owner, something as small as maintaining a clutter-free office can have a huge effect on the bottom line.”
The good news is that there’s something you can do about it.
Tips and benefits of decluttering at work:
1. Save time and improve efficiency by using a filing system:
When paperwork piles up you waste time looking for what you want
- Use a filing system for keeping things where they belong. This will clear the surface of your desk and you’ll know where documents are when you need them.
- Use a logical flow to keep papers in one spot. Pens, notebooks, and other commonly used items should be kept at arm’s length
A US study shows the average worker wastes up to one week a year searching for misplaced items.
- Decluttering your digital space is just as important as the physical stuff – they both have the same effect on your brain.
- Often, we need to access documents in a moment’s notice, in which case a thought-out desktop file sorter is important.
- Try using colour-coded folders, and not stacks of files
2. Reduce workplace accidents and spills with a clear space:
A recent study by the HSE reported that between 2013 and 2016 an average of 119 000 employees slipped, tripped, or fell at work in the UK. Have you ever tripped over a colleague’s pile of tossed out paperwork, crammed rubbish bin or unruly cords?
- Remove, or toss, anything from your desk that is not used often. Everything else should go in drawers, cabinets, and containers for easy access.
- Keep the space around your computer clear so that your mouse, and hands, can move freely without knocking anything over.
- You will instantly be more efficient, energised and fewer accidents will occur.
3. Keep areas clean for less employee absence and higher employee motivation
Being healthy at work directly impacts productivity – no one works well when they’re ill, and chances are they’ll end up infecting fellow employees.
- Initial Hygiene UK discovered that 57% of employees feel more motivated and have greater morale when their workplace is clean and provisions are made for proper hygiene solutions.
- The tidier your workspace, the more hygienic it is.
- There are germs and mould from viruses or crumbs that can’t easily be seen. Dust, mould, and animal hairs (if your office is lucky enough to have these furry bundles of joy visit) that get wedged into cluttered spaces trigger allergies and asthma.
- Don’t risk your health, and that of your colleagues. Keep your desk and other surfaces clean by using powerful cleaners regularly.
- Even if your office has a regular cleaning service, they won’t get into the nooks and crannies – be sure to tackle these untouched surfaces.
Founder of AnyJunk Jason Mohr adds: “ Our brand services a number of offices that have benefited from regular decluttering. We spend our time and energy focusing on making our home a liveable space where we can relax, so why wouldn’t we do the same for our workplace in order to be more focused? As the average employee spends 40 hours a week in their office, it’s important to take pride in the workplace and create an atmosphere that people are productive and enjoy being in”.
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