Tori’s Take: It’s Spring – Time to Clean Your Desk
Each quarter, we bring you “Tori’s Take” featuring a guest post by Market Street Talent’s Operations Coordinator, Tori Leavitt, as she takes a look at popular workplace concepts and trends.
It’s officially spring, and we are excited for everything it brings! Warmer weather, longer days, fresh air and a chance to turn over a new leaf are on everyone’s minds. This is the time of year when people tend to evaluate their environments and spend a little time spring cleaning. Take advantage of that spring motivation to spruce up your work space and get a boost to your productivity!
Let’s face it – when your desk is a mess, finding what you need can be a challenge. You might feel like your work area falls into the “organized clutter” category, but do you actually know where everything is? This is an even bigger factor if someone needs to fill in for you, or if you have to ask a coworker to find a document with an address or phone number on it for you while you’re on your way to a meeting. You don’t need a complicated filing system or desk drawer organizers…just keep similar items together and everything will be easier to locate.
The cleanliness of your workplace is one of the first things a client or visitor will notice when they walk in. Keeping the general office clean and uncluttered is an easy way to make a good first impression. The same is true for employees – when your boss walks over to talk to you, you’ll come across more positively if your desk isn’t covered in snack wrappers, empty coffee cups and old notes scribbled on scrap paper. If your goal is to appear capable and professional, keeping your work space clean can help with that.
This is an obvious one. Bacteria and viruses accumulate easily in an indoor environment, and without regular cleaning, you’re likely to be exposed to something contagious. Even if you’re a person who never gets sick, you can still spread germs from your desk into your office’s common areas. Touching your dirty keyboard and then sticking your hand in the communal fruit drawer is an easy way to get someone else sick. Even if your office has professional cleaners come in weekly or bi-weekly, it’s a good idea to take a disinfecting wipe to your phone, mouse, keyboard and desk surface once a week or so, especially during cold and flu season. These are the most common places for germs to gather because they get the most contact throughout the day.
Another reason to put away all your papers? Protecting sensitive information from getting into the wrong hands. Many companies have “clean desk” policies requiring employees to keep documents with customer data inside desk drawers, sometimes under lock and key. Whether your employer has a formal policy or not, it’s a good idea to keep potentially sensitive documents out of view when you’re not using them.
Clutter can cloud your focus while you’re trying to get things done. If you’re looking at your computer screen and trying to answer email but your eyes wander to the messy pile of paperwork you need to get through, you’re likely to be distracted (even if it’s subconscious) and start thinking about the paperwork instead of your email. Visual clutter is something you might not even realize is hindering your productivity – you’ll probably feel more focused when you’re working in a clean space.
Give it Five Minutes
If you’re someone who struggles with keeping your space clean, try to commit to a five-minute pickup at the end of the day. Stack your papers or put them in folders, toss your pens into a cup, and put the miscellaneous things lying around on your desk into a drawer (or the trash…do you really need those illegible sticky notes from last week?). You’ll feel better kicking off the next morning with a clean slate.