Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Spring Cleaning in the Office

Warmer weather brings sunny skies, birds chirping, flowers blooming, and spring cleaning, a yearly ritual that helps clear out the dust and clutter from winter. While most people participate in spring cleaning at home, what about your office, a sorely neglected spot filled with piles of paper and a computer screen covered in post-it notes?

Participating in spring cleaning in the office may be worth your time more than you think. According to a new survey of over 1,000 workers by the staffing firm Adecco, 57 percent of Americans admit they judge coworkers (and their employers) by how clean or dirty they keep their workspace. Nearly half have said that they have been “appalled” at how messy their colleague or employer’s office is, chalking it up to laziness.

In fact, a report by OfficeMax found that office clutter undermines productivity and motivation. “Your performance coincides with your workspace, says Jennie Dede, Vice President of recruiting of Adecco. “When it’s organized and precise you have the mindset and motivation to work.”

Below are some tips and tricks to help get your office and workspace back in working order.

Set a weekly appointment to clean. A messy office reflects organization skills. Employees will see a cluttered office and assume their project is going to get lost in the shuffle. It’s important to tackle clutter regularly, before it gets out of hand. Set a weekly 15 minute reminder to toss unwanted papers and sort paperwork.

Don’t make piles, set limits. Piles of paper is not organization, it’s just more clutter. Try separating your office into “zones” -- a workspace area for your computer, a library area for books, storage area for supplies, etc. Give everything in your office a place, and then limit yourself to the amount of items in each. For example, when your filing cabinet starts overflowing, throw out or digitally archive papers.

Your desktop is not a storage space. “The only stuff in the radius of your arms should be the stuff you need immediately,” advises Peter Walsh, author of Lighten Up: Love What You Have, Have What You Need, Be Happier with Less. Clear your desk of visual clutter and keep flat surfaces bare, paring down to only the essentials. For most people, a clutter-free desktop holds a monitor and keyboard, telephone, some pens, a notebook, a beverage, one lamp and a family photograph.

Get it off the floor. A clean floor immediately lightens the feel of an office. Hang hooks in your office for coats, umbrellas, and bags. Allow a drawer or shelf to be used primarily for larger bags or shoes.

Eliminate digital clutter. Organize digital files and your inbox as you would paper files, with folders and labels. Keep your computer desktop minimally bare and set calendar reminders instead of post-it notes.

Disinfect regularly. Don’t forget to prevent the buildup of dust, dirt, food stains and fingerprints in your workspace. Regularly disinfect your desk, phone, keyboard and monitor at least once a week.

Three quarters of workers think people are most productive when their workspace is clean and tidy, according to the Adecco survey. If you have gotten rid of clutter and your office smells fresh and clean, you will feel more productive and your employees and coworkers will judge you positively in the workplace.

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