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Messy desks are the scourge of many an office manager. You look across the room at the end of each day and see certain desks littered with mugs, piles of paper, and stationery. And it’s always the same ones, whilst others are pristine and clear. So what’s a weary office warden to do? We thought we’d arm you with some ideas to trigger some change…
Messy desks hinder productivity
You’d hope that all employees are keen for a business to succeed. So if that subset of staff who revel in their cluttered desks aren’t listening to your pleas to tidy up, try telling them this: Messy desks affect both their productivity, and the productivity of their colleagues. They cause extra work load, wasted time, and frayed tempers. Now some of that is just perception, of course, but if those untidy desks are subliminally affecting staff attitudes to work… they need sorting out!
Perceived disorganisation affects promotion prospects
It’s human nature. Randomly chaotic desks don’t present a boss with a sense of efficient thinking. Some disagree with that suggestion, but it still stands for others. Tidy desks suggest an organised approach. And at times image can be everything when someone is going for a promotion. So if some staff are bothered that their careers are languishing, then perhaps a quiet word about the state of their desks will help both them… and you.
Disorderly desks look less professional
The above point makes this already regarding employees, but the perception visitors have when they first arrive matters too. If someone is having problems with a supplier and they invite them in for a meeting, messy desks aren’t going to sow the right seeds. If that supplier needs to pull their socks up, your business needs to already be one step ahead.
Disorganised desks have a financial impact
No employee wants to think they’re affecting their company’s finances. But it’s true that inefficiency and things that affect productivity do. So logic dictates that disorganised desks will contribute to this. If it takes time for staff to find things… time costs money. If staff have to replace stuff… that stuff costs money. If staff have to repeat work… you get the message. Messy desks are an expensive business to be in.
Cluttered desks can affect health and wellbeing
Sounds dramatic, but it’s true. Jumbled desks affect others’ mood, morale, and general state of mind. Clutter adds to stress, and yet it’s a simple problem to solve. Get the buy-in from everyone that clear desks are the best way forward.
Tips for helping your staff keep their desks tidy
Use stationery ranges that physically work together, e.g. paper trays that stack, filing compartments that clip together.
Encourage staff to label paperwork carefully so it has an obvious home.
Request that employees don’t eat at their desks.
Encourage a “Don’t print it unless you really need to” policy, to keep paperwork to a minimum.
Make a final desk tidy up part of the working day for every member of staff as they are about to leave.
So next time you ask some of your staff to neaten things up, make them aware of the impact their clutter is having on their colleagues, their own wellbeing, and the business. It might be all that’s needed to make those messy desks a thing of the past.