Does a messy office affect employee productivity?

A clean and tidy office is about more than just presentation.

Did you know that workplace stress costs businesses billions each year?

Of course, that stress comes from a variety of areas in a worker’s life, but the office is surely a big, and busy avenue for stress.

A messy office could be contributing to unnecessary anxiety, distraction, and time away from doing the important tasks.

Effects of clutter in the workplace

Take a look at your desk and office space right now. Is it cluttered with a mess of un-filed papers, sticky notes, half-empty cups of coffee? Is the rubbish and recycling bins overflowing with the week’s snack wrappers and discarded lunches? Not only does mess like this look nasty, studies at Princeton University Neuroscience Institute suggest the brain works better in order, rather than chaos.

Just the sight of mess can be jarring and trigger your brain to feel foggy and unfocussed. And that means productivity in the office will be down.

Ever lose an important piece of paper under a mountain of stuff on your desk? It can take several precious minutes to find it and lots of frustration.

How to fix it

It seems so simple, yet so hard to maintain, but the easiest way to combat a messy office is to do a little each day. Don’t let the mess pile up. File the papers. Have trays that act as inboxes for papers, notes, and bills. Even though much of society is committed to digital life, there are still mounds of paper-based items used every day.

If your pile-up is due to a lack of space, buy a bigger, or another bookshelf, filing cabinet, table, or a new desk with plenty of drawers. Not so you have more places to store the excess, but so you can organise your things in a neat and orderly manner.

Afraid to tell an employee to keep their desk clean?

Make it office policy to clear and tidy your desk at the end of the day for everyone so nobody feels singled out.

Finally, if office cleaning duties are a bone of contention, hire a professional cleaning team to come in regularly to clean the floors, dust the furniture, wash the dishes, empty the bins, wash the windows, and sanitise the bathrooms.

Top tips to make your messy office clean again

  • Clear your desk before you leave the office every day

  • Wash your own coffee mug and lunch dishes 

  • Don’t print emails or docs unless absolutely necessary – have a digital filing system instead

  • Got a ton of keepsakes and books? If they don’t bring you oodles of happiness right now, donate them

  • Can’t decide if you want/need an item or not? Stick all the “maybe” items in a box and label it with today’s date. Put it in a cupboard for six months. If then you missed or needed any of the things, keep them. If not, get rid. This handy tidbit is borrowed from the blog, Zen Habits, so thank you.

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The perks of a cluttered desk

It’s not all bad. Albert Einstein is famous for questioning a cluttered workspace.

If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty one a sign?”

Steve Jobs’s office was notoriously messy. There are a few famous photos of his home office overflowing with books, paperwork, and a pot-pourri of other printed material (and a giant Mac computer). Some think a clean desk is a sign of laziness. An untidy workplace, a sign of creative genius. Mark Twain and Thomas Edison were also said to have incredibly messy desks.

Naturally, it’s up to the individual. Some people work well in mess, some do not and cannot. If you work alone from your home office, then maybe a messy desk is fine. But we’ve all heard horror stories from corporate offices. There’s always at least one staff member who refuses to empty the bins or wash their dishes, leaving the grunt work for someone else to do. This alone can be added stress and pressure on employees to not only do their job description, but also tidy up after lazy co-workers.

Ready to hire a cleaner in Sydney?

Hiring a cleaner for your business means regular cleaning so you and your staff can work in a clean enivronment. Not only will your team be happier, your customers will also appreciate the extra effort made to keep client areas welcoming.

If you have any questions, or would like a cleaning quote, please give us a call on 1300 401 390 today.