October 26, 2020

Why a clean desk can increase your output in the office

Lauren Consiglio from Rajapack shares her tips for decluttering the office

Considering British workers spend around 3,515 days at work (plus 188 days overtime) according to 2019 research, most are striving to work smarter, rather than longer. Many people have caught on to efficiency hacks that can help them do this, employing strategies from inbox zero to task prioritisation and regulated breaks.

The “tidy life, tidy mind” mentality is not always included in this plan, however, and many see a clean workspace as a waste of time. Yet with a new study revealing that over half of Brits consider decluttering to be therapeutic and beneficial to their mental health, it may be time to think about the ways it could help us work smarter. Here are four key reasons we should declutter our desks for increased output at work.

Save time

The thing that we skip out on to save us time, could well be the thing that’s slowing us down. When we’re busy with work and have documents, notes and post-its piling up on our desks, it can be easy to lose sight of what we’re looking for amongst the chaos. A tidy of your desk every morning will allow you to find what you need, when you need it (and make it harder to miss those all-important memos!).

Stay focused

Is a “tidy life, tidy mind” true? Scientists have suggested that a cluttered environment can make it trickier to focus. This is because our brain is trying to take in multiple items, which in turn makes it a challenge to concentrate on just one thing. Instead, try to only have the things you need out in front of you. This will help you to work on the task at hand rather than jump from job to job, which can in fact be detrimental to your productivity.

Reduce stress

Since we’re already bombarded with stimuli throughout the working day. The last thing we need is a chaotic desk space – especially since the more overwhelmed we become, the worse our output generally is. This cycle is worry-inducing, as well as unproductive – set yourself up so that stress won’t affect your ability to get the job done.

Improve mood

The study states that when Brits declutter, 35% find it therapeutic, 27% find it rewarding and 16% find that it benefits their mental health. Whether these benefits are helping you to achieve more with your day or are enabling you to enjoy a better work-life balance – your mood will be improved because of it. And ultimately, when you’re happier in your job, you’re more likely to do your best work because of it.

Tips to de-clutter your desk

With this in mind, here are some tips that can help you to de-clutter your desk and improve your productivity:

  • If you don’t use it, dispose of it
  • Look around you. How many things on your desk do you actually need? Last week’s newspaper, outdated Post-it notes and tattered documents that no longer have a use can all go in the recycling bin.
  • Also, any coffee mugs, empty plates and snack wrappers should be taken to the kitchen, giving you a clear desk to concentrate at.
  • Use a stationery holder and storage system
  • Pick up all the stationery that is around you and place it in a stationary holder, so that all your tools are stored in one place. Next, take any documents that you did not throw out, and place them in some sort of organised filing system for future use. At the end of each week, go through it and sort what you should keep or throw away.

Go digital

Where you can, go digital. It doesn’t only save the planet, but it saves you from having to be surrounded by messy (and potentially sensitive) documents that shouldn’t be in view of others. Try to keep things on your work server where you can, so that everything you need is in one controlled, protected place. This will make for greater peace of mind.