5 Items to Keep Away from Your Desk

5 Items to Keep Away from Your Desk

Need to boost your productivity and organizational skills? Then here are some items you should be keeping away from your desk to do so.

According to a study published in The Harvard Business Review, leaving your desk a mess in the workplace can have a negative impact on your overall productivity and your efficiency in performing tasks. Interestingly, these same things can also be affected by what is kept on or close to your desk. Curious as to some of these are? Then make sure to read on.

1)  Your Lunch

Pressed for time or just feeling a little lazy when it comes to lunchtime in the office? Then it’s likely you’ll opt to eat your lunch whilst at your desk. If an article published by National Public Radio in 2015 is to believed however, eating lunch at our desk is doing more harm than good. Professor Kimberly Elsbach at the University of California, Davis Graduate School of Management gives her thoughts on the matter.

“We know that creativity and innovation happen when people change their environment, and especially when they expose themselves to a nature like environment, to a natural environment. So staying inside, in the same location, is really detrimental to creative thinking. It’s also detrimental to doing that rumination that’s needed for ideas to percolate and gestate and allow a person to arrive at an ‘aha’ moment.”

2)  Politically Themed Items

Differing views on politics and political opinions can lead to a lot of unnecessary tension between colleagues if not handled properly. To avoid the likelihood of controversy or conflict in the workplace, you should refrain from having any politically themed items on your desk. These includes items such as leaflets on political parties or even memorabilia based on political leaders.

As Business Coach and Entrepreneur Eugene Gamble explains: “Although everyone is entitled to their beliefs and opinions, your work colleagues may take umbrage to your political viewpoint.” Gamble also suggests that to lessen the possibility of rising tensions, you should try to keep any political views separate from inside the workplace.

3)  Dirty Coffee Mugs/Kitchenware

Leaving any dirty mugs, cutlery or kitchenware on your desk is only going to clutter your work (and thinking) space. As the saying often goes, an untidy desk is the sign of an untidy mind. A quote taken from Princeton University helps to summarise this point in better detail.

“When your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus. The clutter also limits your brain’s ability to process information. Clutter makes you distracted and unable to process information as well as you do in an uncluttered, organised, and serene environment.”

4)  Air Fresheners and Personal Care Products

Sometimes, it may seem tempting to spruce up the freshness around the office. You might attempt to do this with a desk air freshener or plug in scent to ward away any nasty post-lunch smells. However, it’s important to realise that colleagues and those working near you may have allergies to certain scents or just simply don’t want to work in a fragrance fueled environment.

As Jenn Watterman Moore explains, plug-in air fresheners aren’t just inconsiderate, they can be dangerous too. “Plug-in air fresheners are a fire hazard and can be very distracting to your coworkers. What you think smells great may be unpleasant to your neighbour.”

And to keep a professional image whilst in the workplace, you should leave most personal care products at home. A toothbrush or a small mirror tucked neatly away in a drawer is acceptable, but any tweezers, nail clippers or major makeup items should be kept well away from your workspace.

5)  Your Mobile Phone

Our final item may be a contentious one. It will depend on the type of job role you are in and the culture of the company you work for. But if you don’t rely on your mobile phone as a main method of communication for your work, then experts suggest it should be out of sight and out of mind during the working day.

This is backed up by a study published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research. They study concluded that just the sight of your mobile phone is enough to cause a distraction. This is even if you have decided to keep it on silent mode or turn it off completely.

Keeping Your Desk Tidy

We’ve mentioned 5 items above that you should keep away from your desk to maintain better organization and productivity, but did you know that OPInfo offers some handy items to help clean up your desk too? If you’re struggling for space with your papers and reading materials, our Bookends Book and Letter Racks range will help neaten up any loose paperwork.

And if you’ve got stacks of stationery scattered all around your work space, our Desk and Drawer Tidies will ensure you’ve got everything you need for any tasks spent away from the computer screen tidily at hand.

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Sam Rose

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