In all work environments, you’ll nearly always find two types of desks. The ones that are clean, organized and presentable, then you’ll have the others that are cluttered with documents from months ago on top of files made two days ago, as well as yesterday’s lunch. It’s often thought that if you have a disorganized desk you must be working hard but it can actually mean the complete opposite - it can be a sign of stress which can, in reality, decrease productivity levels.
According to the National Center of Health, the average keyboard has 400 times the number of bacteria on it than a toilet, making your office space a lot dirtier than you think it is. Unless your immune system is already struggling from another illness, the bacteria is usually pretty harmless. However, if it does get your employees, or yourself sick, it would mean your business will suffer in profits while time is taken off to stay at home and recover. With this in mind, here’s how keeping a clean office can increase your workplace productivity.
Most modern offices feature an open workspace design which means that without the provision of privacy, employees are more open to distractions such as co-worker conversations, deliveries and desktop notifications, whether it’s their own or others. The closest distraction, however, is the cluttered objects lying around everywhere. It reduces your focus as your attention can be quickly diverted to whatever is lying around you and therefore decreases your workplace environment productivity. The saying that the cleanliness of an environment is a good indication of the state of your mind is true. If your space is clean, then your headspace is more likely to be focused, at ease, and you’ll have the capability to work harder and produce higher quality work.
Among some of the cluttered objects will be paperwork that will most likely consist of important documents that you’ll need sooner or later. Having to search for those documents when you desperately need them in a messy environment can cause yourself and employees stress, and result in unnecessary wasted time. You can reduce the amount of time spent hunting for documents by creating a system for document storage, cleaning up your working environment and reducing stress, as you’ll always know where to find documents when you need them. In addition to that, being able to find a document at once in front of a client gives a more professional impression than having to rummage through the entire office, giving you all the more reason to make sure your office space stays clean. It can impact the reputation of your business externally as well as internally.
An excuse for not keeping the office as clean as you should is that hiring cleaning help can be expensive, especially in a small business. According to Udemy, 70% of workers feel distracted due to numerous factors within the office including a cluttered and dirty workspace. To compensate, according to AAA, businesses are spending well over $10,000 on business interruptions, such as having employees take time off while being sick. Save money and keep employees productive by cleaning your space, encouraging small efforts during a work day to tidy clutter, and making an investment in a cleaning company, whether they come in a couple of times a week or a couple of times a month is completely up to you, dependent on how much you’re willing to put in a budget for it.
Another reason why keeping an office clean can create greater workplace environment productivity is that it will improve the willingness of employees to produce better quality work. Simply put, employees that are happy are going to be happy to do their work. An environment that’s cleaned regularly can make employees feel like they are valued for the work they do rather than as a way of saving money on a cleaning bill. They’ll likely want to help maintain a clean environment while they are in the office too, by decluttering when they can. A clean office is also linked to increased teamwork and employee retention which are both only going to benefit your business.
There are some small and non-time-consuming tips that if used consistently can seriously improve the cleanliness of office space, save money in the long run, and improve your workplace environment productivity:
Clean equipment used by everyone regularly, such as printers or photocopiers, as they can accumulate dust pretty quickly and affect its performance and even be a fire hazard. Put off the expense of buying a new one by taking care of it!
Implement a clean desk policy where certain clutter is forbidden from the desk. For example, If there is something on a desk that hasn’t been used in a month it’s unlikely to be used soon and should be removed. This allows employees to avoid hoarding so much, and makes cleaning less overwhelming.
Take 10 minutes at the start or the end of the day tidying your desk. Small chunks of time in maintenance will save a lot of money in the long run.
Remember that your employees expect a clean office to be a given as part of their work environment and not a perk. They most definitely didn't sign up to be your part-time cleaning crew, so make sure that there’s a small investment made into the cleanliness of a workspace and trust that with the reasons and tips above you can make a big difference to your workplace environment productivity, increase profits, and make everyone happier.