Spring clean or not, I love a good office clear out. It’s so satisfying getting rid of boxes of junk and coming into a clear, clutter-free desk. I’m also currently setting up my home office – I LOVE choosing folders, files and stationery to create a lovely workspace. Perhaps I’m in the minority though – I am an office geek.
An assistant is expected to be orderly and productive. A clear, organised workspace comes part and parcel of this. Plus, if you’re based in an office with external visitors, the workspace needs to look professional – clean, tidy, corporate and clutter-free.
The National Association of Professional Organisers (NAPO) found that 80% of clutter in the office is due to being disorganised, not from a lack of space. They also found that disorganisation can lead to financial losses equivalent to 10% of an executive’s salary. Why? Clutter is overwhelming and distracting. When your environment is disorganised, the chaos inhibits your ability to focus. NAPO also found that the average person wastes up to 4.3 hours a week searching for papers, leading to stress, frustration, reduced concentration and creative thinking.
Is your workspace in need of a spring-clean? Have a good look around…
- Start with your office. If a fire warden walked in right now, would he give it a clean bill of health? If you have random things lying around, put them away. There shouldn’t be anything on the floor other than your furniture.
- Have a look in the cupboards. How much of the ‘stuff’ in cupboards do you actually need to keep and will you every use again? If not – bin it.
- We have a room specifically for archived documents at my workplace – after 10 years they are destroyed. If you don’t have this facility, is this something you can set up?
- Consider data protection. With the new GDPR laws coming into play shortly, there shouldn’t be any paper documents containing individual’s personal details lying around. Google search GDPR Guidelines for more information.
- Give the desk a quick wipe down to get rid of any crusty coffee marks and keep it hygienic!
- Set up a filing system to clear the surface of your desk (in-trays, drop files, binders – whatever works for you) to keep your notes and papers organised.
- Decluttering your digital space is just as important – this has the same effect on your brain’s ability to focus. Delete files you no longer use.
Identify each problem area and address one at a time, so the job doesn’t become too overwhelming.
Of course if you’re in a shared office, not everyone will agree on the acceptable levels of tidiness. There needs to be a common courtesy applied to shared areas. If someone’s space looks like a hoarder’s delight, or they’re leaving dirty crockery in the kitchen, talk honestly as a whole team and set some ground rules. Nobody’s behaviour should drag down office productivity.
Initial Hygiene UK discovered that 57% of employees feel more motivated and have increased morale when their workplace is clean, hygienic and tidy.
Clean workspace = increased productivity.