Five tips for spring cleaning your office

Most of us spend an average of 40 hours each week at the office. Whilst we focus on ticking off the items on our ever expanding to-do lists, it’s easy to forget about general housekeeping and our desks can end up looking unloved and messy. Alarmingly, in a survey by staffing company Adecco, 57% of workers admitted to judging co-workers based upon the cleanliness of their workspace.*

Don’t let an untidy desk undermine your talent and productivity. Now spring time has arrived, it’s the perfect time to rejuvenate your desk and restore order to the place you call home during your working day. Make a start with these tips on spring cleaning your office.

  • Purge the paper. The notion of a paperless office has been ongoing since around 1975. Yet in 2016 we are consuming nearly double the volume of paper when compared to 1980. Most professionals still deal with vast amounts of physical documents, and these often end up stacked up on desk tops. Set some time aside to go through your paper documents; of the documents you don’t need, shred the items which contain sensitive data and recycle the items which don’t contain anything confidential. Store or archive the documents you need to keep in an appropriate place.
  • Keep only what you need at arm’s reach. Declutter your desk by keeping only essential items within your reach. For most people, these items will be a monitor, keyboard and mouse, telephone, notebook, post-it notes and a few pens. Establish areas or filing and storage systems for items you use infrequently, and get in the habit of putting these items away each time you finish using them.
  • Disinfect things you use often. Did you know that office telephones can harbour around 25,000 microbes (germs) per square inch? Keyboards are known to carry 3,295 microbes per square inch and computer mice carry 1,676. This means that the items on your desk you use daily are less cleanly than the average toilet seat**. Keep a set of disinfectant wipes in your desk drawer and wipe your desk and equipment down once every week. The habit will also force you to tidy up loose papers and lingering rubbish.
  • Create a daily paper system. Now you’ve invested time and effort in purging your paper stacks, create a daily system which keeps your paperwork under control. Use magazine files or boxes labelled ‘To Read’, ‘To Do’, and ‘To File’ to keep track of your paperwork. Establish set days for each action, so that you proactively keep on top of your paperwork.
  • Keep a basket or drawer for short-term storage. Some paper based items that land on your desk may be miscellaneous in terms of your daily paper system, so make available an area for short-term storage. If you receive a monthly industry magazine or other publications, keep them in a basket devoted to these items and clear them out on a routine basis.