We get it. Carol’s desk gnomes and those posters defining “Courage” and “Teamwork” aren’t exactly lifting your spirits. But we’re not even talking about the type of junk that’s strewn about your office.
We’re talking about the junk itself. You’ve probably become numb to it — wading through a labyrinth of paper stacks, electrical cords, coffee cups, and discarded computer parts. And this numbness is exactly the problem. Even though it’s apparently the norm, working in an environment of excess clutter can turn you into that fluorescently lit desk zombie you’ve been so scared of becoming. Or in other words, excess clutter negatively impacts your brain and actually hurts the success of your company.
The Negative Effects of Clutter
It’s one thing to feel emotionally drained by a cluttered environment. Wasting hours as you sift through haystacks of papers can stress you out and lead to an agitated worker bee. And this stress even carries over to your personal life. While this would be distressing to any one individual, a draconian corporation may not really care. But the harmful effects of a cluttered office space even extend to the quality of work being done. Research has proven that a decrease in productivity is linked to excessive clutter and disorder. Scientists have studied the impact clutter has on your brain and found that it results in diminished concentration and sensory overload. Seeing clutter in your workspace makes you distracted and crowds your brain with too many stimuli, even impacting your ability to process information. Cluttered space also serves as a physical symbol of all the tasks and projects you have yet to accomplish, creating a sense of mental paralysis and an inability to focus on any one task. So what can an organized space do for your work environment and how can you achieve it?
Benefits of a Clutter-Free Office
- Increased productivity
- Better filing and management systems
- Lower stress levels
- A happy and friendly work environment
- A better impression for clients
Organizing your office doesn’t happen overnight. It takes persistence and commitment. Once you establish new systems, you need to follow them diligently. Below are some tips that will help transform your office into a productive and clutter-free workspace.
- Put things away as you use them – Don’t let papers pile up on your desk. Know where everything goes and put things away when you are finished using them.
- Clean your desk at the end of the day – It is inevitable that your desk will get a little messy during the day. The end of the day is the perfect opportunity to assess what you can get rid of or what you need to file away and save. However, be sure this doesn’t take a lot of time or it will become counterproductive.
- Not everything needs to be printed – Before hitting print, really ask yourself if this file is something that will benefit from being printed or if an online copy will suffice. Printing wastes resources and time. Scanning old documents can also be very beneficial.
- Learn what to keep and what to throw out – In a business, there are some documents and files you will need to save for a certain duration of time. Establish guidelines for what needs to be kept and what can be tossed.
- Have a recycling program in play – If your company installs a recycling program, it will lead to waste reduction. Not only is this ecofriendly, but it will eliminate some clutter while saving you money on resources.
- Don’t forget about online clutter –Just as physical clutter affects our brain, so does the clutter in your email and on your desktop. Don’t neglect this form of clutter, or it too will fester in your mind.
This is just the beginning of a long journey toward an organized, productive, stress-free work environment. For more suggestions, you can contact a professional organizer in your area. And if you need some of that junk removed, feel free to consult our office clean-out services. Understanding the impact clutter has on the workplace can help save your company money, increase morale, and give you the professional excuse you need to get rid of those awful desk gnomes.
Image source: Looking Glass