A messy office or work space is more than just an eyesore. It can also damage your professional reputation. An OfficeMax study found that 40 percent of employees assume messy coworkers must also be lacking in other professional aspects. Furthermore, 13 percent of people had lower overall opinions of their messy colleagues.
In addition to judgment from coworkers, office clutter also negatively impacts other aspects of work life. Productivity decreases if you are constantly searching for misplaced papers or files, and stress can add up if you are being bypassed for promotions due to lack of detail and organization.
A clean work space means mental clarity for everyone in your office. When files are neatly organized and old papers, post-its and memos are tossed, prioritizing and completing tasks becomes easier. Confidential items such as budgets or financial documents should be locked away or shredded. An organized work space can also lead to less workplace injuries, since there are no boxes or miscellaneous items for co-workers to stumble over.
1. Organize your desk
This is probably the most obvious yet important step. Assess what is on top of your desk compared to what needs to be there. Most likely, there are random papers and old notes or memos that are no longer relevant. Recycle or shred those items to keep them from piling up.
2. Take out your trash
Many offices have a cleaning service, depending on the office size. However, don’t wait for someone to clean up after you. Throw away your snack wrappers and lunch takeout boxes. Wash out coffee cups. Better yet, encourage your team to stop eating lunch at their desk. If you don’t eat there, the mess can remain minimal. Eating at your desk can also negatively impact your health and job.
3. Organize your file cabinet or desk drawers
Office clutter doesn’t only apply to the things your co-workers can see as they walk by. Your desk drawers should be clean and efficiently organized. Grab some hanging file folders and get to labeling. Separate individual compartments for office supplies. Opening your drawers should be easy on the eyes and easy to navigate.
4. Spend 5 minutes cleaning office clutter per day
Instead of perusing social media, take a few minutes before you leave each day to tidy up your space. This way, when you walk in the next day, office clutter won’t weigh you down. Encourage the rest of your team to do the same.