If you spend a lot of time in office space, you’ll be well aware that keeping the area tidy is rarely as simple as it seems. Paper builds up, pens and pencils often lose their places, and trailing wires stand every chance of making an impact when not kept in check. Some people can continue without worry when they have a mess to contend with, and it has little effect on their working strategies. For others, cluttered desks and floors can make it hard to concentrate. If you fall into the latter category, these 10 tips are for you.
1. Focus On Organising Your Desk First and Foremost
As you might expect, it’s the areas in which you focus the majority of your attention that you need to keep the cleanest. If you struggle to stay on top of tidying, then an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach may be just what you need. If you need to get things done, but the untidiness of your office space gets in the way, consider focusing on the desk first and leaving cupboards, floors and other surfaces until you have a little more time on your hands.
This means getting rid of anything off the desk that doesn’t belong there and, wherever possible, cutting back on paper and other items scattered around the area. It should only take a few minutes to get your desk into perfect working condition and, from there, you can go about your day – just don’t forget to tackle the other areas when you get chance!
2. Decide What You Don’t Need and Get Rid
There are things on every desk that probably don’t need to be there. This tip isn’t to suggest that you take everything from your desk and put it all in the bin – a couple of family photos and a little mascot won’t do much harm. However, if there are pieces of paper that have been there for weeks and show no signs of ever being addressed, it’s time to recycle. If half-empty pens never get used, get rid and stick with the ones you prefer.
3. Take Responsibility in Common Areas
It’s not your job to ensure that the desks of others are tidy. However, you can help out with team morale in general by doing your part for common areas shared among various staff members. Rather than adopting an approach whereby you didn’t make the mess and so shouldn’t have to clean it up, if there’s something you can do to make somewhere a little prettier, you should do it for the benefit of everyone.
4. Keep Your Computer Clean
You probably have a computer of some sort at your desk, and it is fair to say that these devices are absolute dust magnets. Over time, the buildup can be such that your device might even stop working – and following on from the same approach as in the tip above, you should never think it isn’t your problem and that the IT team will sort it out for you. Instead, work to keep the computer itself clean, and don’t overlook the keyboard, mouse and other peripherals. Give them a regular wipe at the very least, and consider cracking out the canned air for between the keys every month or so.
5. Keep the Floor Clean
If you have an office cleaner, the chances are they vacuum every day. However, you should still focus on your own personal area and ensure that the floor near you adds to the appeal of your space rather than hinders it. Don’t store anything on the floor as a rule of thumb, and if anything finds its way onto the floor by accident, make picking it back up a priority.
6. Get into the Corners and Crevises
Once you’re happy with how your office space looks on the surface, it’s time to dig deeper and see what else could benefit from a thorough clean. Dirt and dust builds up everywhere, just as you might expect, and whether you want to breathe more comfortable or simply know that there is nothing to worry about anywhere in the office space, it’s worth occasionally venturing where even the cleaning lady may fear to tread.
7. Get into the Habit of Ditching Rubbish and Recycling as Soon as You Can
If your office has a cleaner, the chances are that it is on them to dispose of the rubbish you create. However, that means emptying bins and recycling containers – not putting things in them. It is not for them to decide what you need to keep and what can be safely thrown away, and so it is highly advisable to get rid of things as soon as you can. This keeps the area clean and tidy for the rest of the day too, helping to overcome the potential lull period later on in the day.
8. Consider Keeping the Air Clean Too
In any space where you’re likely to encounter other people, the chances are that you’d rather be the person with the clean, sweet-smelling air than the one that they avoid for the sake of their noses. Don’t underestimate the importance of air fresheners, as they can make your desk far more approachable. You can also consider an air purifier if you want the space around your desk to be as clean as possible – just try to get one that is reasonably quiet so as not to disturb everyone else.
9. Avoid Eating at Your Desk if Possible
Food is necessary at work if you’re to reach your full potential at any given day but, if you can help it, it’s best not to eat and work at the same time. As well as crumbs, dirt and packaging buildup, you may also have to consider the smell. Essentially, there’s a lot about eating at your desk that goes against much of what we have spoken of throughout this feature!
10. Make a Schedule
Much as we hate to say it, the fact is that many office jobs are repetitive and predictable. While that’s not positive in itself, it does mean that there’s a good chance you’ll know what you’re doing and when. Cleaning and tidying is a never-ending role and one that you should do at least once a week when it comes to a concerted effort, so make time in the diary to get everything ship-shape – even if that time falls outside your standard working hours.