Your Office Isn't Big Enough for Clutter and Productivity
We're searching for top company cultures to be featured on our annual list. Think your company has what it takes? Apply Now »
About 80 percent of the workforce has a job that requires no physical labor. That means that most of us are sitting at a desk for hours at a time. With multiple hours spent at the same location, it’s easy to see why our desks tend to become our second homes, and why we feel comfortable to let the clutter start piling up.
While some may argue that a disorderly environment stimulates creativity, a de-cluttered workspace actually increases productivity and your company’s bottom line. Studies show the average worker wastes close to one week a year searching for misplaced items.
Having a clutter-free environment helps us think more clearly and, ideally, produce better results. For those who have let their clutter get out of hand, rearranging and moving piles occasionally from point A to point B won’t do the trick.
To truly become clutter-free, you have to change your office lifestyle. It won’t be easy, but the effort is worth it.
Impress your boss with your organization skills. Organizing your office space might seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of looking at it as a one-time purge, try setting time aside each day, or at the end of the week, that is specifically designated to getting your space back in order.
Your coworkers and, even worse, the higher-ups, might assume your messy office means an inability to prioritize and a poor work ethic. This equates to a lack of trust and may result in fewer projects coming your way.
It’s important to stay on top of clutter consistently so that it doesn’t accumulate over time. Your coworkers and boss will see this effort and associate your positive organization skills for positive production.
Modernize your organization system. Picking up your loose papers or creating stacks does not reduce the clutter, it displaces it. That’s why it’s crucial to inventory your belongings to take that next great step toward a professional life of organization and productivity.
One way to do this is to create folders of your work and take photos for a digital inventory, and then store those folders. For the less tech-savvy, write your information down in a basic inventory log for easy tracking. If you ever need a certain item, turn to your inventory log to find exactly where it is located.
Get rid of the filing cabinets. Not everything should be out of sight. Items you will need in the immediate future can and should be kept in close proximity. For everything else, tuck it away in a safe and accessible place.
Using a file cabinet next to your desk just makes your office a large storage container. And most likely, that cabinet will become a coffin where papers and files go to die. It costs nearly $25,000 to fill up a four-drawer filing cabinet. It also costs $2,100 each year to maintain it. That is a lot of lost money just to keep some papers on file.
Instead of metal tins in each office, after conducting an item inventory, search for an outside or on-demand storage option that can affordably and conveniently store your items.
Share the wealth. Once you get your desk area in order, it’s time to declutter the rest of your office. To do that, you should look into implementing a company-wide storage plan.
Start by identifying items that can be stored for longer periods of time, such as seasonal material, collateral and marketing items that are only used at a certain time of the year. To make sure all employees are involved, try holding an annual cleanup day, preferably right before the holiday break, to have employees go through their items and decide what should be stored, recycled or thrown away.
When employees come back at the beginning of the year, they will have a clean space that warrants optimal productivity.
An average employee can waste up to $4,800 annually just by looking for “stuff,” according to a Gartner survey. By organizing your space, you and your co-workers will increase your productivity and become a more efficient company.