Not only is a clean and tidy workspace aesthetically pleasing, it also makes for a more productive environment. Clutter can affect your capabilities and efficiency as well as irritate colleagues. A clean and organized space can also help reduce workplace injuries and illness. Additionally, when the office is clean and organized, you will have a better knowledge of inventory and resources, hopefully leading to less unnecessary spending. Spring is a great time to clean and organize the office so everyone has a productive and healthy work environment. Below are some tips on tackling office spring cleaning!
Create a list and zones. Before you start, make a list of what needs to get accomplished from a top down perspective. Break larger, shared workspaces into zones of activity, such as meeting spaces, research areas, administrative spaces, and storage areas, and encourage employees to create zones for their personal space as well. These clearly outlined spaces will encourage increased productivity. From there, create a checklist of what needs to be cleaned and organized in each zone.
Keep it minimal. For both shared and personal workspaces, only items needed on a regular basis should be kept at arm’s reach. Get rid of visual clutter by recycling or removing what isn’t needed and putting away (in a dedicated, organized place) items that are used less often. For many, a monitor, paper, pen, and phone are the only items consistently needed on their desk. Add a photograph or two and get rid of the rest of the visual clutter.
File it. While many offices are going paperless, most are not quite there. If you don’t already have a filing system, it’s time to make one. Create either hanging files or baskets labeled "to read," "to do," and "to file," and designate certain days or times to handle each so you’re not overwhelmed. When files become too stuffed, it’s time to do an overhaul of what is still needed.
Get rid of junk drawers. Most people and offices have a junk drawer or cabinet (or a few!) where all the miscellaneous items end up. While this may temporarily rid the workplace of visual clutter, it can cause unexpected stress whenever the drawer or cabinet is opened. To help alleviate this stress, use dividers to give things a designated space, and set a reminder on your calendar every six weeks to go through these spaces.
Deep clean. Once all the extra junk and clutter has been cleared away from personal and shared spaces, it’s a great time to dust, wipe down, and disinfect. Don’t forget keyboards, phones, and shared equipment such as printers. Encourage employees to keep up the cleanliness by storing cleaning wipes in centralized locations that will naturally remind everyone to keep things clean.
Digitally declutter. Creating a digital organizational system is just as important as a physical one. Take control of your email and desktop with an effective management method. Don’t use your inbox as your daily to-do list. Instead, determine what you will do with your email, such as delete, delegate, handle, date for a later time, or unsubscribe. Additionally, remember it’s important to not have a cluttered digital desktop. Only keep regularly used icons and shortcuts on your desktop. Files that are used less often can be pinned to a quick access folder. Have your digital desktop simple and ready for productivity each morning as it’s the welcome screen to your workday.
Use teamwork to keep it up. Every office has that one employee whose workspace is always clean and organized and another who has a cubicle that sends you into a state of anxiety each time you walk by. Encourage office organization and cleanliness by setting aside a regularly scheduled cleaning day. Consider doing it quarterly or even bi-monthly depending on the office’s unique needs. While cleaning days don’t sound like the most exciting work activity, it can be made more fun by having an office potluck or treat day. Just make sure you clean up afterward!