The Case For a Cleaner Office Space

4 March 2014 by
Clean desk in an office

A few minutes per day and a little diligence and this desk could be yours!

To have a clean office space or not, that is the question. Many people, no matter how hard they try, see papers pile up and coffee rings form around their desks by the end of the week. But a cleaner office space is more than just an aesthetic appearance; it can post greater implications for your professional career and actually have a major impact on your quality of work. So should you make a bigger effort to have a cleaner office space? We say yes, and here’s why:

The appearance of an office directly correlates productivity. While many people feel that an overly clean office feels too rigid and severe, chaotic piles of paper can create a stressful and chaotic environment in which finding important information is difficult. Instead, keep the office tidy and organized and add posters, plants, and other pieces of décor to make it feel less severe.

As explained by Reliable Plant, “According to the National Association of Professional Organizations, paper clutter is the No. 1 problem for most businesses. Studies show the average person wastes 4.3 hours per week searching for papers, which adds stress and frustration to the workplace while reducing concentration and creative thinking. The average executive loses one hour of productivity per day searching for missing information. And, according to the Small Business Administration, the biggest burden for small business is the inability to properly service customers, increase sales and improve the bottom line because of mishandled paperwork.”

But that doesn’t mean you must squash all creativity. A messy office and a uniquely creative office are not the same thing. Many people cling to clutter because they cannot otherwise express themselves, so if you have control, make some décor changes in your office to make an impeccably clean and organized office feel more personal. As stated in Science Daily, “Employees who have control over the design and layout of their workspace are not only happier and healthier — they’re also up to 32% more productive, according to new research from the University of Exeter in the UK.”

If there is even the slightest chance that a customer or a client will see your office, keeping it clean is a must. Even if you deliver impeccable service, it is difficult to see past a messy office and this will definitely reflect poorly on your entire company in the visiting client’s eyes. Having good organization and a tidy appearance makes your customers feel confident that you run your business in an organized, easy, and efficient way. Simply put: a clean office protects your professional image.

In a survey by Office Max of over 1,000 working adults, 90% of these working Americans reported that clutter had a negative impact on their lives and work and 77% reported that clutter actually damages their level of productivity. Over 50% claimed that disorganization actually impairs their state of mind and motivation levels.

Peter Walsh, host of Enough Already! on the Oprah Winfrey Networks says, “If you have a cluttered office, you risk being seen as inefficient or not on top of your work. Disorganization suggests a degree of incompetence that clouds your abilities. You run the risk of jeopardizing your chance of a promotion.”

Additionally, a cleaner office can protect you against accidents and lawsuits. A messy office means more room for clutter to get in the way, for people to trip and fall, for important pieces of information and documents to be lost, and for germs to fester and make employees sick. Ultimately maintaining a clean working environment can help avoid all these problems, creating a space that enables a less stressful working experience and allows employees to work to the best of their abilities with the ease of knowing where things are and working without unnecessary distractions.

How to Maintain a Clean and Professional Office

  • Use a Filing System: Create a filing system for important documents with easy-to-understand and clear labels that can help you best find information later. Instead of allowing papers to pile up on your desk, immediately file them away so that you can quickly get to them when you need them and so that they don’t get lost.
  • Take Advantage of Shelves and Drawers: While these can certainly be areas of clutter, they can also drastically cut down on the amount of items covering your desk. Employ drawer organizers to keep pens, paperclips, and post-its in order and use shelf space for books, notebooks, and personal décor.
  • Avoid Eating at Your Desk: Snacks at your desk mean more opportunity for crumbs, sticky keyboards, and wrappers and garbage to clutter the space (not to mention lingering smells from whatever you were eating). Separate your break time from your work time and eat your lunch or snack in the cafeteria or the break room.
  • Make an Effort Every Day: Before you leave your office to go home, make an effort to tidy up. Just a small effort every day can keep clutter from getting out of hand and ensure that you come to work the next day to a tidy environment and start out the day with productivity.
  • Put some items that you don’t use often into storage: Investing in a storage unit can be a great way to maximize space and organization in your office. Click here to find a storage unit near you.

Have you noticed a chance in your own productivity or in your employees’ productivity in a clean vs. messy office situation? Share your experiences and your preferences with us in the comments section below.

SSF Team

SSF Team

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