A cluttered and messy workspace may cost a business owner more than they realize. Employee morale and productivity can drop, and liability increases as the workspace becomes a danger to both employees and visitors. Then there’s the question of what space they can control – should employers tell their employees what their desk space should look like? Or is that considered their private domain?
Most employers try to strike a happy medium, of keeping the office looking professional while allowing some personalization of their employees. If you’re an employer with that dilemma, here are some reasons to keep control of the desks in your office area.
A poll taken by Office Max shows that 77% of office workers say they are less productive in a messy space. 90% admit that unorganized chaos has a negative impact in their life. However, Close to three quarters (71%) feel accomplished when they organize their workspace.
But as any employer who has dealt with an employee who just can’t keep their workspace clean, it can be tricky insisting on a clean workspace. Feelings can be hurt. Morale can be damaged.
So what can you do?
First, remember that each member of your team comes with a unique style. While it’s good to have a clean environment, it’s also a good idea remember that the end goal is happy productive employees. If an employee is causing a problem, try to keep it from being personal. Try drawing the line at where their mess begins to affect the rest of the team. If no one is bothered, and the employee is being productive, it might be best to leave things alone.
When there is an employee with a cluttered desk, it might be good to ask if this comes from a lack of organizational skills, or just their creative style.
if it is organizational skills, gentle offers to help with a filing system can help. But there is some evidence behind the claim that a messy desk helps with creativity.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota found in a study of 48 students published last year that people working in a messy room came up with more creative ideas for new uses for ping-pong balls, compared with participants in a tidy room. “Being creative is breaking away from tradition, order and convention, and a disorderly environment seems to help people do just that,” says the study, published in Psychological Science.
Whether or not you believe your employee is a creative genius or a simple slob, it’s always good to lead by example. When the boss keeps a clean desk, others will generally follow their lead. A monthly, or even annual, desk-cleaning hour or day can make a huge difference. Turn it into a party with refreshments and you’re sure to get a good response.
Whether you’re an employer wanting to encourage your employees to keep their space cleaning. Or you have your own desk you’d like to de-clutter, here are some simple tips to keep your area in a positive workflow from Forbes Magazine:
Most people spend at least 30 minutes to an hour a day looking for things. ..Psychologically, it’s a barrier. You can’t focus because your files start to talk to you, and you have a nagging sense that you’re missing something. Professional Organizer Laura Stack recommends a streamlined process with just three hanging files or baskets labeled To Read, To Do, To File. Set days of the week to go through each so that you don’t get behind or feel overwhelmed by the need to do everything at once. Keep files for ongoing projects color-coded and set them apart from your archives. Then, you’ll know exactly where everything is what needs your attention first.
Establish And Maintain Limits
In the OfficeMax survey, 26% of respondents said they were disorganized because they didn’t have enough space for their stuff. Odds are good that the real problem isn’t not enough space, it’s too much stuff..
Set limits on the amount of stuff you’ll tolerate from the beginning, and challenge yourself to stick to them. Allow yourself one bookshelf. When it’s full, give away one book for every new one that you add. The same goes for filing. When the cabinet becomes loaded, it’s time to de-file, tossing some of the paperwork you no longer need.
Long-term maintenance is as crucial as the original organization plan. Make an appointment twice a year to go through old files, every six weeks to clear out your desk drawers and at the end of every day to put things away.
End of Day
At the end of the day, take 10 minutes to make sure your space is clean and clear. Throw away all trash. File any papers left out, except a to-do list for morning. That way you’ll arrive at work with a fresh perspective, ready to take on your new challenges.
Where You Have Most Control
While it’s always hard to control employee’s personal work habits and their work space, the one area where you have the most control is the rest of the office area. Keep that area clean and you may inspire even problem employees to match their workspace to it. Most importantly, those who appreciate neatness over clutter will feel more comfortable and be more productive.
If you’re in the Draper, Utah or surrounding areas and could use some help keeping your business clean, give a call to our favorite janitorial service company, A Plus Partners.