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Updated Aug 16, 2023

Want to Boost Productivity? Start by Cleaning Your Office

Here are five steps for keeping your office organized and clean.

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Julie Thompson, Senior Writer & Expert on Business Operations
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Taking a few minutes each day to straighten your desk can help build healthy organizational habits and make you more efficient. After all, every time you search for documents or get distracted by the clutter that surrounds you productivity is hindered.

Keeping your office clean is easier than you think. Tidying could increase your mental and physical health as well as improve your work-life balance.

How to keep a clean and organized office

1. Throw out what you don’t need.

The first step in cleaning your office is to conduct a workspace audit. Take a good look at what’s in your office space. Determine what items, paperwork and supplies you truly need and what you can do without. Think about what you use daily, what you use once in a while and what you never use. Then create separate piles for trash, items you want to keep and those you wish to donate.

Initially, getting rid of certain items or materials may seem like a challenge, but if there are things you never use, there is no point in keeping them. They will only add to the mess in your office, so you are better off getting rid of them. 

2. Hide electrical wires and chargers.

Simply concealing the wires in your space will make a massive difference in how clean and neat it is. Communicating with clients in your office when it’s in a state of disarray can be embarrassing. If you know your space is messy, so do others. That’s a clear sign it is time to clean. An organized area will help you feel better about inviting others into your workspace.

A surge protector, which will keep all your cords charged to the same outlet so you don’t have wires coming from several places, is ideal. If your work desk has an open back, arrange the wires in that opening so they aren’t visible when you shut the drawer. The goal is to make sure your cords are in an accessible place without drawing too much attention to them.

3. Recycle extra papers.

With how digitized the average workplace has become, there’s not much reason to have tons of paper files around your office. Most businesses and companies use apps and online resources to complete their work and don’t need to rely on paper products to accomplish tasks. Unless paper is a must, decrease the amount of paper you use and recycle the paper you no longer need. 

Bottom LineBottom line
Even with the advancement of digital technology, the amount of paper (and paper packaging) the world consumes continues to increase yearly. We could save 1.6 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions if every American reduced their paper usage by only 10 percent, as reported by Gitnux.

4. Minimize desk clutter.

Although throwing random items on our desks is easy, your desktop is not just storage space. This space is where you’re supposed to work on your career goals and accomplish essential tasks, so treat the area as such.

Good rules of organization mean minimizing what you have and maximizing the space you’re working with. Make sure any items sitting on your desk are helpful ones that will enhance your productivity

Use your wall space to minimize the clutter on your desk. Put up hanging shelves that can hold your must-have items. If you want your things in drawers, buy small storage bins that will hold them so you don’t have a bunch of stuff cluttering your space.

5. Clean regularly.

Unfortunately, cleaning one time and never again won’t help you stay organized in the long term. You must make regularly cleaning your workspace a conscious habit — much like scheduling emails or attending meetings — so it never goes back to being a cluttered mess.

Pick a frequency that works for you. Tidying up for 15 minutes once a week should be more than enough time to put everything back into place and wipe down your desktop. Try not to be lazy about your cleanup because that’ll leave you with more to do down the road. If something is useless to you or doesn’t liven up your workspace, don’t be afraid to throw it away.

A key component to cultivating a positive work life is organizing and cleaning up your workspace. A tidy work area contributes to a tidy mind. When you realize how much time you waste looking for missing items and trying to get through the clutter, it’ll be a relief to have a space that’s sorted properly.

How workspace cleanliness and organization affect productivity

It improves concentration.

A decluttered workspace can reduce stress and anxiety, which in turn enhances concentration. Workers with fewer distractions can quickly clear their minds, stay focused, and do their jobs better.

It decreases sick days.

A clean and sanitized workspace can help ward off the common cold. Workplaces and workers that frequently clean surfaces and hands, generally see a reduction of 80 percent in sickness, according to a University of Arizona study. Investing in a professional cleaning service can also help decrease the number of sick days in the office.

Did You Know?Did you know
Poor air quality in the office can lead to more sick days. However, according to the American Psychiatric Association, it can also lead to an increased risk of anxiety and depression.

It promotes happiness.

Messy distractions can adversely affect workers’ mental health. An unkempt area can lead to procrastination and a lack of motivation to complete necessary tasks on time. According to a study in Current Psychology, an untidy workspace inhibits your ability to function and could also lead to less satisfaction with your life. [Read related article: 7 Ways to Create a Happy and Motivated Workplace]

It boosts morale.

A well-maintained workplace leads to higher morale in the office. Offices that keep a clean, sanitized and clutter-free environment help foster positive attitudes and general employee satisfaction. 

Simply having a clean office can help an employee feel valued. An organized office improves employee retention rates and motivates workers to meet goals for a company that elevates standards. Employees also benefit from less burnout and an increase in creativity.

FYIDid you know
Having your employees clean the entire office themselves shouldn't be a part of your business plan. Employees should be able to expect a clean office environment. To decrease turnover, invest in a reliable cleaning crew so your employees can focus on what they do best.

It lowers equipment costs.

Keeping the office clean can help prolong the life of your electronics. Regular maintenance of office equipment repairs problems before they become too severe and prevents essential items from breaking down. This can reduce supply costs and keep the office running smoothly. 

Chris Christoff contributed to this article.

author image
Julie Thompson, Senior Writer & Expert on Business Operations
With nearly two decades of experience under her belt, Julie Thompson is a seasoned B2B professional dedicated to enhancing business performance through strategic sales, marketing and operational initiatives. Her extensive portfolio boasts achievements in crafting brand standards, devising innovative marketing strategies, driving successful email campaigns and orchestrating impactful media outreach. Thompson's proficiency extends to Salesforce administration, database management and lead generation, reflecting her versatile skill set and hands-on approach to business enhancement. Through easily digestible guides, she demystifies complex topics such as SaaS technology, finance trends, HR practices and effective marketing and branding strategies. Moreover, Thompson's commitment to fostering global entrepreneurship is evident through her contributions to Kiva, an organization dedicated to supporting small businesses in underserved communities worldwide.
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