The messy desk. There are at least a few in every office. We’ve seen our fair share of them. These are the desks that our crews really, really want to dust, but there isn’t an inch of clear space to do so. They can be found running over with everything from papers, mail, food crumbs and cluttered with personal items. The messy desk is not only a challenge for your janitorial service to dust and clean but it takes away from the cleanliness of the office as a whole. Even more, a messy desk can contribute to decreased productivity.
According to Inc.com, a messy desk not only wastes time but it can decrease the level of customer service your business can provide to customers. The article states:
Furthermore, your clients will judge your business and employees by how clean or messy individual work areas are cleaned. According to a survey by Adecco, a majority of Americans (57%) make judgments about people based on the appearance of their work desks. The logic is, if they can't keep a desk organized, how can they take care my business? Cleaning up the desks in your office is a simple fix and an easy way to create a favorable impression, which will boost client confidence.
Another survey by Office Max reveals that a messy, unorganized desk also undermines productivity and motivation. If a desk is cluttered and a mess, it can affect your metal state. A clean desk promotes clarity of thought, creativity and boosts productivity.
The messy desk is so near to our heart and a common complaint we hear from office managers. So much so that it is the first topic in the Keep it Clean challenge that we hosted a few years ago. Maintaining a clean and organized work space can seem like a daunting challenge, but the benefits of improved productivity, increased focused and favorable impressions from customers are worth the effort. Today we are sharing a few practical tips and some helpful web resources that can solve the messy desk problem in your office.
7 Tips for an Organized Desk
1.Treat your desk top like prime real estate.
2. Limit personal items on your desktop.
A picture or two is fine if there is adequate space without making the desk appear cluttered. Aim to avoid things like car collections, stuffed animals (we've seen it all), things that are easily broken or anything else that attracts dust. Not only are the items distracting and create clutter, they also make it difficult for the janitorial service to dust or pipe off your desk. Before putting something on the desktop consider if it adds to job productivity. If it doesn’t then another location may be more appropriate or enjoy it at home.
3. Store books and binders on book shelves.
These items take up lots of desktop space. So unless it is a binder or book that is needed frequently for job performance, store these items off of your desktop. Tops of file cabinets can also double as good storage places for these. In addition, whatever books or magazines you decide to keep in the work space should earn their keep by adding value, not collecting clutter. So if you never refer to these items in the course of your work consider keeping them in a home library or donating these resources to colleagues who may find them helpful. If your work space does not have room for a file cabinet or bookshelf, books and binders can be stored in drawers to avoid them being on the desktop.
4. Create a system.
A filing system is needed for any paper files that you maintain. Consider an inbox for items that you are currently working on to keep on your desktop. File everything else away in a desk drawer or file cabinet. Decide how you manage items that you are not yet ready to deal with such as mail. Consider adding a bin for these items to park in an organized manner until you can get to the task of finding a proper place. Desk file racks, folders and hanging file folders are excellent tools to organize and categorize paper files. A label maker is also handy so that you can quickly determine what's inside each folder or bin. The goal is to find a place for everything.
5. Keep only the quantity of supplies that are needed on hand.
Do we really need 75 pens and 13 notebooks on our desktop? Probably not. While we also love colored pens and pretty notebooks, too many office supplies will quickly clutter your desk. To get office supply clutter under control, keep an adequate supply of materials at your desk to do your work. When you need more, visit the supply closet to restock.
Designate an area where pens, pencils, note pads, staplers, tape and all other supplies will be kept. An organization tool that holds files, pens and papers like this one from Office Depot is a great all in one option. Not only does it keep everything you need at hand organized, but there is limited space to store items. That means much less opportunity for clutter.
We have a few supply hoarders in our office too. But you would be amazed how much space you'll save and clutter you'll eliminate by paring down your supply stash.
6. Aim for a clean desktop at the end of the day.
Make a routine to clear off your desk at the end of every workday. Put away things that were not completed. File all paperwork and discard all trash from the desk.
We also suggest keeping a stash of cleaning wipes in your desk. Having items like disinfectant wipes or a small bottle or disinfect spray and a towel on hand, make cleaning your desk an easy task. At the end of the day take a wipe and quickly clean off your desktop.
This is especially important if dusting or wiping off personal desk spaces is not included in your company's janitorial service contract. As a cost saving measure many businesses are omitting dusting and damp wiping of employee desks from their janitorial service contracts. So, the responsibility of cleaning your personal work area may be up to you.
Always ask your manager to be sure what cleaning tasks are assigned to the janitorial service and which are your responsibility. Either way it's a good practice to take a few seconds to sanitize your desk at the end of the day. Leaving your desk clean and organized at the end of the day will facilitate a more productive start for the following workday.
7. Declare a clean-up day.
Once your workspace is clean and organized, it will require maintenance to keep it that way. In addition to a daily tidy up, consider a weekly cleanup and organization day to stay on top of workspace clutter.
At least once a week, take twenty minutes to purge papers, file and dust personal items. Also sanitize your phone, mouse and keyboard. This is a good habit to maintain the organization of your desk space. You can also take this time to replenish any supplies such as paper clips, notepads or pens that you'll need for the following work week.
Abandoning the messy desk for a clean desk only takes a few new habits. With a little practice and some changes to your routine a more productive, beautiful and organized day is within your reach.
Want more information on office organization? We thought you would. Our team found these websites inspiring. Check out our Pinterest page for even more inspiration.
Inspiring and Helpful Resources
Our content team searched the internet for helpful articles on how to organize your desk for productivity. The links below are excellent sources of information and inspiration to get you started.
21 Tips to Organize Your Office and Get More Done
How to Organize Your Office for Maximum Productivity
10 Tips to Keep Your Desk Clean, Organized and Productive
Here's How Your Desk Should be Organized
How to Organize Your Workspace
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